I think it’s art. What about you?

June 5, 2008

Graffiti – chances are you’ll either love it or hate it.
But surely there’s a middle ground? Surely you can appreciate graffiti that obviously has some talent behind it, and isn’t just some adolescent scribblings.
I fall into this category. I love creative graffiti that makes you think and looks great. I hate the poorly-crafted repetitions of peoples’ names that blight walls across our towns and cities.
I happened across a great piece of graffiti that has a pop at really terrible ‘tags’.

It was on a great blog called CrackUnit, run by a gent called Iain Tait. You can visit his site here.

But the stuff that’s done well, that people spend time and sweet blood over, can be awesome.
There’s a great site run by a guy called Duncan Cummings, based in Edinburgh and he goes out and documents the new graffiti as it springs up around Edinburgh and beyond. You can visit his site here.

It’s an amazing labour of love, that now boasts pictures of graffiti from places as far apart as Amsterdam and Australia, as well as Bristol and Barcelona. He’s also running a petition to get a graffiti artist realeased from jail in Scotland (seems like he’s out, on bail, at the moment – finally). It seems that a sheriff took great umbrage at the writer, identified as ‘Daze’. Which resulted in a custodial sentence of 28 months. For goodness sake. There are proper criminals (assault, rape, even manslaughter) who get less time than that. I’m not necessarily condoning what has gone on in this case (as I’m sure I don’t know the whole story), but where is the benefit to society of taking an otherwise law-abiding citizen and jailing them with real criminals? Surely a community-based sentence would make more sense. Or at least some sense. Have a look and do whatever you can to help.
We need to make a stand and tell the authorities that we’ve had enough of them hammering minor-criminals, whilst the murders and white-collar fraudsters are allowed to roam the country almost unchecked. Have a go at the bigger boys and then we might not be so upset when you go after ‘soft targets’.

Everybody and their gran has heard of Banksy, but have you really looked at his work? Some of it is truly great. In almost everything he does he manages to leave enough of a gap to complete that the viewer enjoys ‘getting’ what’s going on. Great advertising works in the same way.
Banksy quote: “A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.”
Here are a number of examples of Banksy using his initiative, and making me smile into the bargain.

What I really love about Banksy is his ability to have a go at things that are very ‘now’. Like the kids running the Tesco’s bag up the flagpole and pledging allegiance to it (how very American). Like the pastiche of the L’Oreal line “Because I’m worthless”. And like the Blunkett piece, where even his dog can see he needs to be stopped (excuse the pun). Each of them plays a little with your perception, and has a lovely reveal that lets the reader feel a connection with the piece. See more of his work here.

Well, graffiti has now stormed the Tate Modern. In 60 foot high style. Below you can see one of the pieces from the exhibition. Have a look.

Now have a closer look. He’s not carrying a gun, it’s a video camera. How many of you spotted that?
Learn more about he exhibition at the Tate here.
And you can watch the BBC piece on it here.
See, like I said, clever. It makes you think. Which is what we’re continually told that great art does. Quad erat demonstrandum, baby.
If you’re near the Tate Modern I’d advise paying them a visit.
I’m seriously thinking about popping down to London to have a look myself.
Although I’ll leave the last word on that to Banksy. This was something he tagged onto the steps outside the Tate Gallery. Nicely put, sir.

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