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Last week I learned that I didn’t know much …

February 25, 2013


Last week I learned that I know little or nothing about graffiti.  I understand the concept is controversial and difficult to explain to the uninitiated; but who are the initiated and should we ever know?

Last year, I was with my  grandson on the the South Bank in London, where the walls beside a skate park are covered with ‘works of art’.
He asked ‘Whether it was good or bad to make a blank concrete wall attractive by painting on it? Then he went on ask ‘Whether or not I liked the pictures?’

south bank

These creations I assume are legal l but I understand that graffiti in general is now outlawed in the UK.
I see that there is a need for the artists to be secret and magical; even though the subject matter is far from fairy tales or even comedic.
I wondered even if the political innuendo is above those who were using the skateboard park!
I have learned from a work colleague who was/is a self acclaimed graffiti artist and who has over the last few years found it increasingly difficult to practice his ‘art’ because of the new laws.
He went on to tell me since becoming a family man he can no longer take risks, However he misses the thrill and the Christmas morning jaunts when everyone else is indisposed, he was able to do his thing.  Disguising his every move but giving the finished piece an extra flourish or signature to distinguish it above the others, to those in the know. 

I believe also artists such as Banksy, who have gone a step further away from city street art by making prints and publishing books.  He has perhaps lost some respect in some quarters by those who prefer to keep the edge of shock, impermanence and mystery.
My interest in graffiti has increased since going to Rio de Janeiro; although I have seen graffiti in European cities in comparison they are mere squiggles and thoughtless shapes that reflects the overall impression one gets in some cities with McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Pizza Express.
The Brazilian government decriminalized street art in 2009. Street artists can use a building or monument with the consent of the owner.  However tagging is discouraged strongly; taggers became renown for ‘stealing’ from construction sites to use as a their showcase.

“Brazilian graffiti art is considered among the most significant strand[s] of a global urban art movement, and its diversity defies the increasing homogeneity of world graffiti.”  – Design Week

I wonder if the street artists are entirely happy with this blurring of the formal and informal in the name of tidiness.

So,  as I said ‘What do I know? I am left with some unanswered questions.
Does Graffiti have to be pretty, aesthetically pleasing, in the proper place  and legal?

Or ugly and harsh  saying things we don’t want to hear in the wrong place and therefore illegal?

Then what do we do with those who break the rules ?

and for me and my grandson who don’t do a good job?

Well I am only asking!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2013 12:29 pm

    graphitis often make the walls look gorgeous!

  2. February 25, 2013 12:29 pm

    sorry graffiti

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