Aug 29 2013

This piece by artist Joe Cotter hangs on the 2nd floor of Edgefield and depicts one of the original Edgefield "artists" - Racer X - hard at work.  

Racer XBetween 1982 and 1989, the poor-farm-turned-old-folks-home-turned-county-eyesore stood empty. Well, sort of empty – along with the blackberry bushes, the mice, snakes and other invaders came a band of merry pranksters armed with spray paint. One of these (or maybe all of them, who knows?) went by the slightly unoriginal moniker Racer X.

Blood-red paint was his (or her?) choice. Not a great speller. Artistic skills that were negligible, at best. Clearly filled with teenage angst and resentment toward authority. Yet Racer X was bound and determined to leave his (her?) mark in the dark, spooky hallways of the old poor farm.

When Mike and Brian bought Edgefield and waved a magic wand over it (OK, it took a little more effort than that), some were surprised to see that the legend of Racer X wasn't painted over as a bothersome blot in the place's history - no, instead, the graffiti was immortalized in various spots around the property.

Like in this painting here. On the artist's t-shirt is a reference to the original Racer X, from the late-1960s cartoon Speed Racer. The character Racer X is "a heroic, mysterious, flamboyant, selfless, sympathetic and often brooding soldier of fortune" (credit to Wikipedia). Racer X also shows up on the 3rd floor at Edgefield, in a mural that depicts the spray-painting rogue in a framed portrait that sits proudly on a desk next to a former elderly resident. And in the hallway outside the basement offices of the sales and marketing departments, the crimson scrawls of Racer X are still visible behind the stacks of copier paper and property brochures. Strangely enough, the Racer X tag also appeared at Kennedy School, discovered on classroom walls during the renovation.

One must wonder - who was Racer X? Did the cops ever manage to "take him alive," as he (she?) alludes to in Joe's painting? Has the artist (probably now in his 40s) been back to Edgefield and perhaps been stunned to see his (or her?) teenage mischief recast on the walls by actual artists? Who knows.

But one thing is for sure: This is Racer X.

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