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Georgia Avenue und Bonifant Street, Silver Spring, MD, USA
"Traincharmachameleon" by Goodloe Byron

The arts and entertainment district of Silver Spring, north of Washington, DC in the state of Maryland, is considered one of the most vibrant and diverse nightlife destinations in the area.

"Traincharmachameleon“ by Goodloe Byron© Goodloe Byron, Photo: Mike Maguire

In the eyes of the beholder

In a public announcement, the citizens of the surrounding area were given the choice to select a work of art for an exposed wall after the demolition of an old building. Goodloe Byron's Traincharmachameleon design from nearby Frederickton won the competition.

One reason may have been the artist's clever idea of announcing the opening of a new railway line for 2023 with a chameleon in the form of a train, the animal itself symbolizing the transformation of the inner city district. Or perhaps it was the fact that the motif could not win a beauty contest. It stands shakily on crooked legs, looking uncertainly, anxiously into the future. It may be the transformation into a light train that saddens it.The colour changes from a light green head to a dark olive/brown, which surrounds the silver-grey train painted on the body. It is not clear whether body and train merge or whether the whole train is food - after all, the passengers are insects.

The poor animal may have swallowed the train. The aesthetics of this mural do not follow a conventional pattern, it is contradictory. The childlike pattern of the animal rubs against its objective ugliness, the future motif is relativized by its obvious doubts, and even the perpetrator-victim relationships are not clarified. A classic case of pretty ugliness.