Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have been forced to reevaluate my stance on graffiti. I was completely against graffiti - I don't like "tags" on buildings that are ugly and lower the property value or make the neighborhood seem less nice. I had a friend who for some reason seemed pro-graffiti, but I'm still not sure why. I guess he understood why they did it, but that still does not excuse trashing someone else's property. Three artists (or 2 1/2) have convinced me to really rethink my view.

work is incredible, thought provoking, and although I guess this is a matter of opinion - makes the area it is painted on look better, at least a lot of the time (and not just because his work is so sought after). His style is so cool, but there is also a deeper meaning behind it. Its not just saying "hey, this is mine". Simply, they are murals that may offend some because they may not like the message they convey. Its also interesting because it often stenciled on to the surface creating a unique end product.

Julian Beever is another artist (very different from the first) whose work would be considered graffiti by some. What differentiates his work from typical graffiti is its transience. If you do not like it, you don't have to worry because it will be gone as soon as it rains or the streets are washed.

The .5 artists is Shepherd Fairy. I'm not saying he's not a full artist, but there is a lot of controversy right now on whether his Obama poster (or other posters) are truly his, or whether he's just really good at tinkering with other people's work. I was looking him up once and found a site comparing his work to other posters etc. Whether its true or not, I do like a lot of his work and it has caused me to think about "poster art/sticker" art/graffiti. Its a neat way displaying and distributing the artwork.

Although these artists have very different styles techniques and messages, they have succeeded in making me think. Their art has caused me to consider "what is art and what is graffiti?" and it has also introduced me to some cool techniques for making art or graffiti.

A few years ago I took a tour of Philadelphia. One thing that has stood out about that tour were the murals painted on buildings throughout the town. They were all very different, but they all accentuated the European/cool feel of Philly. The really cool thing about the murals was that according to the tour guide, they punished graffiti artists by making them paint a mural (ironic punishment?). Supposedly someone will not graffiti over someone else's art/work. Whether or not that was true, they definitely looked cool. The murals in Philly and elsewhere have made me wonder, perhaps some people just need an outlet. Maybe more cities need a place where people can legally express themselves (in an appropriate manner). In Orlando at Pho 88 one wall of the building is covered in ever changing graffiti/street art. I'm fairly certain the restaurant owner allows it, and (however it is set up) the artist gets to advertise (there is often a name or number). Of course, this wouldn't work for delinquents who just want to tag buildings and join a gang and feel cool, I think they'll have to look elsewhere for help (family planning perhaps).

I once saw a picture of an awesome mural somewhere in South America of evolution, but I can't find it right now or I'd post it.
I know this post is rather rambly, but its past my bedtime and I think I'm going to find out whether my laptop is capable of creating 3rd degree burns (one day a decade from now I'll end up in a fertility clinic and I'll find out all of my eggs have been hardboiled.. ooh, easy birth control...).
Um, so yes... my brain is asleep. I could wait and add to this later, but maybe I'll just add on later... in comments....

Talk amongst yourselves.

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which is more important? i.e. which would you choose at the exclusion of the other?