Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Ellis Bathrooms: art or not?

So, the scribblings of the still-angst-ridden college students on the stall walls of the ladies rooms in an English building may seem like a stretch from the graffiti wall and my justifications for its artistic merit, but hear me out on this one.

I mean, there have been plenty of grungy and beloved bathrooms. Okay, maybe there haven't but there was CBGB. Now, Ellis Hall is no fuckin' CBGB (may you rest in peace), but the attitude is there. Though, it's coming from snot-nosed English majors rather than snot-nosed punks (well, some beings may exist concurrently as both). Something about it just screams grit and collegiate anarchy.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I get excited when things aren't as they "should be."

Eh em...

Anyway, so these bathrooms in Ellis Hall.

Scrawled across the expanse of the stall walls are messages ranging from the downright bawdy to the philosophical, from the middle-school-esque girl talk to deep secrets about relationships and mental health.

The walls document pop culture fascinations (see: the Old Gregg wall in the back stall of the bottom floor bathroom), the lyrics of songs and the English major's inherent need to correct the grammar of all who damage the integrity of the English language by DARING to write incorrectly in a damn bathroom stall.

Like the graffiti wall, I don't think this is so much art as it is developing into art by documenting human nature. One, if feminist-leaning, could even take it as a commentary on women's need to express themselves in private among themselves and in anonymity. Think about it.

For those who have yet to experience the joys of the Ellis bathrooms (this will be especially exciting for those of you in possession of a "Y" chromosome), here's an inside look at some of the Ellis Hall "art."

So, art or not?

CBGB photo credit: Rome Snowboards


Athenschick said...


I really enjoyed this post! I have a specialization in English, so I'm always in Ellis Hall. And oddly enough, I find myself looking forward to reading the scribblings on the stalls in between classes, and possibly discovering some new thoughts that weren't there the day before. I personally enjoy reading all the doodles, lyrics and personal anecdotes of other people.

Sometimes understandable or relatable, and other times cryptic and misunderstood... either way, I definitely view these "writings on the wall(s)" as a documentation on human nature, and even a form of poetry. It's like a collage of thoughts, which i find interesting, especially because it's in such an unexpected place.

I told myself as a freshman (back when I was in ENG 151), that before I graduate, I would contribute in some way to the Ellis stalls. We'll see if it happens or not... Anyway, great post!

- Julie Brown

Cassie The Venomous said...


I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

I, too, find myself looking forward to reading the random thoughts scribbled on the Ellis stalls. I always look for new things, as well.

I hope you find something you want to contribute to the walls. I may or may not have added something, myself. ;]