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Graffiti or art
July 19, 2001 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Graffiti or art Where is the line, and if it was in your street would you mind? - watch out this is flash intensive but well worth it.
posted by kramer_101 (56 comments total)

 
flash takes too long to load on a fairly fast connection.
I couldn't take the wait, over 20 seconds.
I don't like graffiti all that much.
posted by tiaka at 5:11 AM on July 19, 2001


corrected link - As far as graffiti is concerned, some of it is absolutely amazing.. however some of it is just juvenile delinquents who feel the need to "tag" their names everywhere they go. I guess it's hard to say where the line should be drawn exactly between vandalism & art.
posted by zempf at 5:51 AM on July 19, 2001


I'm with zempf.
Tags suck outright, but every now and then you see an amazing expression, particularly when you realize they did it with spray cans, which are like using crayons with boxing gloves on.
posted by dong_resin at 6:40 AM on July 19, 2001


I guess it's hard to say where the line should be drawn exactly between vandalism & art.

When it's on private property without the commission of aid property's owner?
posted by Dreama at 7:50 AM on July 19, 2001


but Dreama, is commissioned graffiti really graffiti or just art? a large part of graf's power is being where it's not supposed to be.
posted by gnutron at 8:06 AM on July 19, 2001


I think all these graffiti dorks should cofine themselves to writing on their own homes. Then, I'd be much happier. I stopped calling it art when some truant marked my home like he was some sort four-legged creature. Grrr.
posted by haqspan at 8:11 AM on July 19, 2001


Putting graphics on someone's property without the owner's permission is vandalism. Whether it's also art, kitsch, advertisement, or just dogs pissing on hydrants is another question. Most of the time, it's stupid dogs pissing.
posted by pracowity at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2001


I definitely appreciate the point about people's private property getting tagged, & I'm inclined to agree that that's the lowest of the low. It seems to me that most "serious" artists do try to restrict themselves -- I saw a great documentary on the subject at a short film festival here at OSU, and a couple of the artists said that they would only tag government property (street signs, buildings, etc.) and would never hit people's private property. Of course, the costs for cleaning these off are passed on to everyone, but it at least seemed like they had the right idea.
posted by zempf at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2001


There is no question here about where the line is, and there should be no debate about where the line should be drawn or if a line should be drawn at all.

If it's on your own property, knock yourself out. Then, it's no different than a billboard. If it's not your own property, you have no write to "tag it up."

Artistic prowess is not a license to vandalize.
posted by tomorama at 8:43 AM on July 19, 2001


graffiti = art (content) + vandalism. take away either and it not truly graf. And how often do you see personal property marked by actual graf artists? respectable artists are hitting walls, buildings, goverment property, not people's houses.
posted by gnutron at 8:57 AM on July 19, 2001


"art" is a phenomenon that has no absolute boundaries of definition, therefore food can be art, singing can be art. pissing can be art, and vandalism can be art. It has more to do with intent and effect and that of course offers just as many differences in opinion.
As gnutron pointed out, part of graffiti's power is in being where it's not supposed to be. I would argue that most, if not ALL of its meaning and power is in its being where it should not be.
Graffiti, like it or not, IS an art form, even when it is "only" juvenile tagging. It is expressionistic, antagonistic, attempts to be anti-status quo and revolutionary. It makes a statement that is AGAINST much of our society's rules and beliefs.
If you are offended by the defacement of private property, it means the graffiti WORKED, and you have placed yourself firmly on THAT side of the cultural dichotomy.
posted by black8 at 9:04 AM on July 19, 2001


ooh, ooh. i just got done doing a project about graffiti for my hip hop and rave class. i agree that going on to someone's private property is definitely an amateurish step, but public walls, i think, are fair game.

there's a great book called Spraycan Art about the history of graffiti, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

and if you'll permit me a self link, i have a load of graffiti pictures taken in albuquerque, under the rio grande bridge. they're pretty intense, if you're interested. (the link is just to a directory, and the pictures aren't named anything interesting. they're also kind of large, because i took them with my digicam and didn't change their dpi or anything. man, EVERYONE wants to look now!)
posted by sugarfish at 10:48 AM on July 19, 2001


"art" is a phenomenon that has no absolute boundaries of definition, therefore food can be art, singing can be art. pissing can be art, and vandalism can be art.

Yes. And usually very, very bad art. Regardez moi! I am pissing on the food while I sing! Fundez moi!

If you are offended by the defacement of private property, it means the graffiti WORKED, and you have placed yourself firmly on THAT side of the cultural dichotomy.

I don't need a can-kiddie spraying squiggles on my garage to tell me where I stand on the private property issue. A store owner doesn't need someone defacing the side of his building to have his placement in the cultural dichotomy reaffirmed.
posted by lileks at 10:51 AM on July 19, 2001


I think I've seen some of Banksy's stencils round Leicester. Guess they could have been copies...

Not sure John Simpson will appreciate being used as manifesto for graffiti though :-)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:49 PM on July 19, 2001


This really amuses me: One of my friends is opening his MFA exhibit in a few weeks---his MFA exhibit of graffiti.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2001


I'd have to go with black8 & gnutron on this one. In my selfish opinion, the graffiti artist's right to express him- or herself equals or supersedes the right of the property owner to an unmarked wall--and if the owner has a persistent problem with taggers, they should commission a piece they like.

My neighborhood wouldn't be the same without the stickers, the simple tags and the elaborate pieces on every other building, they make me feel at home.
posted by muta at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2001


the graffiti artist's right to express him- or herself equals or supersedes the right of the property owner to an unmarked wall

I've read some bullshit, let me tell you, and this is the biggest steaming pile of it I've ever seen at MetaFilter.
posted by kindall at 2:35 PM on July 19, 2001


Kindall, take your hate crimes elsewhere. I speak as an artist. I am involved in the Transgressive Underground Art movement. My talents (as an artist) include Graffiti Art, Petty Theft Art, and Pickpocket Art. Why just yesterday, there I was, creating magnificent Art in some fellow's home--you should have seen it, I was stealing a DVD player, and I was on fire, totally in the moment--when this burgeoise jerk walked in--onto my stage--and disrupted the performance. Oh, it was all very ugly, with the usual screams of outrage (Joe Sixpack will never "get" Transgressive Underground Art), threats of violence, and so forth.

But that's when the magic happened. Did I mention that I am also highly regarded in the Getaway Arts? I am. So, in true multimedia fashion, I brilliantly segued the original piece--now in tatters--into a new piece, one of shattering pathos, penetrating insight, and lots of running, sweet running.

When I got back home and told my girlfriend about my performance, she stroked my hair and we both cried a while. I think she knew how important my actions were. I saved some Art yesterday, and you'll never take that away from me.
posted by Skot at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2001


Kindall, take your hate crimes elsewhere. I speak as an artist. I am involved in the Transgressive Underground Art movement. My talents (as an artist) include Graffiti Art, Petty Theft Art, and Pickpocket Art. Why just yesterday, there I was, creating magnificent Art in some fellow's home--you should have seen it, I was stealing a DVD player, and I was on fire, totally in the moment--when this burgeoise jerk walked in--onto my stage--and disrupted the performance. Oh, it was all very ugly, with the usual screams of outrage (Joe Sixpack will never "get" Transgressive Underground Art), threats of violence, and so forth.

But that's when the magic happened. Did I mention that I am also highly regarded in the Getaway Arts? I am. So, in true multimedia fashion, I brilliantly segued the original piece--now in tatters--into a new piece, one of shattering pathos, penetrating insight, and lots of running, sweet running.

When I got back home and told my girlfriend about my performance, she stroked my hair and we both cried a while. I think she knew how important my actions were. I saved some Art yesterday, and you'll never take that away from me.
posted by Skot at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2001


Jesus. I don't know what happened. I'm sorry.
posted by Skot at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2001


it was funny though, skot. especially the bit about sweet running.
posted by sugarfish at 2:53 PM on July 19, 2001


hey I said it was a selfish opinion, not that it made any sense :)
posted by muta at 2:53 PM on July 19, 2001


I've read some humor, let me tell you, and that was one of the funniest bits I've seen here at MetaFilter.
posted by kindall at 2:57 PM on July 19, 2001


Off the subject a bit but: My white car was tagged with Red spray paint once. FYI: carburator cleaner works great to get spray paint off of cars, and leaves your paint job alone. (it was like a dry erase board!)
posted by culberjo at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2001


Respectable artists are hitting walls, buildings, goverment property, not people's houses.

Oh please, that's hardly an excuse. It may not be private property, but it's still not your property, and therefore you have absolutely no right to deface it.

-------

"the graffiti artist's right to express him- or herself equals or supersedes the right of the property owner to an unmarked wall."

I've read some bullshit, let me tell you, and this is the biggest steaming pile of it I've ever seen at MetaFilter.


My thoughts exactly kindall. That's some serious BS. Catch the next episode of "When Ultra-Left Wingers Attack" at 8pm on FOX 5.
posted by tomorama at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2001


i just got done doing a project about graffiti for my hip hop and rave class.

hold up.... a hip hop and rave class? you get college credit for this? well, i guess i shouldn't talk, as i think it'd be cool to take that works of Tupac Shakur class they're offering at some university.
posted by lotsofno at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2001


lotsofno: i'm an american studies major, with a focus on pop culture. the class focused on the history of rave and hip hop music in american culture.

i probably shouldn't tell you about my television in american culture class, huh?

:)
posted by sugarfish at 5:15 PM on July 19, 2001


skot, that was hilarious.

back to the point though, most buildings i see "defaced" are hideous...i personally like a little bit of almost anything on them to break the stupefying dullness of these unfortunate architectural monstrosities. living in new orleans, i've noticed that people doing graffiti usual stay away from structures that already offer something aesthetically pleasing and focus on others that would make any self-respecting designer or architect ashamed. of course this isn't always true, but it happens enough for me to appreciate graffiti more than condemn it.
posted by sighofrelief at 5:46 PM on July 19, 2001


Oh please, that's hardly an excuse. It may not be private property, but it's still not your property, and therefore you have absolutely no right to deface it

Um, hello, that's exactly the point.
posted by ookamaka at 9:25 PM on July 19, 2001


> graffiti = art (content) + vandalism. take away either
> and it not truly graf.

Take away the vandalism and it's still art, if it was art to begin with: at least 99.9 percent of graffiti has nothing artistic about it. Take away that 99.9 percent and I wouldn't be annoyed that the 0.1 percent was sprayed on someone's wall.

> If you are offended by the defacement of private
> property, it means the graffiti WORKED,

So it has nothing to do with art and everything to do with whether it was offensive? (I'm off to practice a little of my own graffiti. I work mainly in black and blue. If it hurts, it worked. If they complain, I "graffiti" them some more. Usually they come over to my side of the cultural dichotomy.)

> and you have placed yourself firmly on THAT side of
> the cultural dichotomy.

Culture is divided into people who like graffiti and people who don't? Read that back to yourself in twenty years. You will be amused.
posted by pracowity at 11:23 PM on July 19, 2001


No, culture is divided into people who believe in the importance of individual property rights and people who believe in communal property and ultimate free expression.

A question I always ask myself is, why aren't there militant anti-advertising campaigns in neighborhoods polluted by billboards like there are anti-graffiti task forces in neighborhoods with a lot of tagging/bombing? No matter the inherent aesthetic value, or lack thereof, a tag might have, at least it's an example of individual artistic expression.

Obviously, there are two sides of urban society, as this discussion has illustrated. Personally, I don't understand the anti-graffiti people (on this matter) just as much as they don't understand me. It's really an ideological difference, and I don't see many people's opinions changing.
posted by kidsplate at 12:02 AM on July 20, 2001


Can I spray my name on your clothes?
posted by pracowity at 12:42 AM on July 20, 2001


Pracowity: if it doesn't interfere with the function of my clothing, you are completely welcome to. Serious. Call me.
posted by modofo at 12:48 AM on July 20, 2001


That's easy to say; I'm not there with the spray cans and you know it's unlikely I'll be able to show up.

But do you see why many others, including most wall sprayers, might not like the idea of someone taking liberties with their clothing? It's because they are them, not you, and their look is theirs, not yours. They shouldn't forcibly cut your hair, tattoo a swastika on your face, and pierce your eyelids, or make you wear a tie and wingtips or a pointy bra and pink tutu. You shouldn't do it to them.
posted by pracowity at 1:11 AM on July 20, 2001


I think the point is that graffiti is purely a physical/visible alteration of something. It is not permanent (tattoo'd swastika), painful (pierced eyelids), nor uncomfortable (tie, wingtips, pointy bra and tutu). Cut hair is an excellent analogy. Over time it grows back.

My point is that I am not so attached to the physical appearance of my clothing (and I fully realize that I don't speak for very many people here) that temporary alteration of its appearance is going to piss me off. The exteriors of buildings are something we all have to look at, period. I would rather see some sort of "color" or "creativity" on them than the monolithic gray walls which are the majority of things being tagged.
posted by modofo at 1:24 AM on July 20, 2001


> I would rather see some sort of "color" or "creativity"
> on them than the monolithic gray walls which are the
> majority of things being tagged.

Fine. But ask. Maybe the owners wouldn't mind a little color, either. Maybe they'll even pay you to add some. But maybe a big white wall is what they want. They got there first with the wall and the paint and they said what they wanted to say. Maybe it means peace, serenity, cleanliness, nirvana, safety, love, death, whatever. If it's their statement, their expression, the spraypainters shouldn't destroy it.

> The exteriors of buildings are something we all have
> to look at, period.

The exteriors of people are something we all have to look at, too, but I don't mind letting people look how they look. Sometimes (especially here) I wish everyone wasn't so white, but I'm not thinking of starting a campaign to dye their skin a shade more to my liking.
posted by pracowity at 1:45 AM on July 20, 2001


well.... here's a picture of my car.

Again, like I said, it's a question of whether you define an individual by their material possessions or themselves. I actually have seem someone tag a sleeping homeless man; I thought it was in bad taste. But a subway car or parking lot wall, or even an apartment building, doesn't define someone's personality and should be fair game for bombing.
posted by kidsplate at 8:07 AM on July 20, 2001


> an apartment building, doesn't define someone's
> personality and should be fair game for bombing.

Unless that's where you live, the place where your children play, the place where friends and family come to find you, the place you have to come home to each day.
posted by pracowity at 8:22 AM on July 20, 2001


Thanks, pracowity. The majority of graffiti I see here is on walls in rundown neighbourhoods, and it is on someone's house or business. Unfortunately, they don't have the cash to clean it up. And when it's on a public housing project, the housing authority doesn't give a good damn, so all of the residents are forced to look at the nonsense unless they take the initiative to try to clean it up themselves.

Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to spray paint ends at the edge of your property.
posted by Dreama at 9:19 AM on July 20, 2001


I should probably just stay out of this debate, but I can't seem to resist it.
Does this make sense to anyone?: "I am all for graffiti, but I strongly agree that it should be against the law."
I don't think any artist should assume they have ANY "right" to deface property, and yet I am pleased as punch that they do it. For me, this is not about rights, or what should be allowed, or whether it is nice or not, it is about the aesthetic enjoyment of watching a cultural war that poses no immediate physical harm to any people (with the possible exception of pracowity's "black and blue" graffiti, if he/she should ever design to actualize that emotion).
posted by black8 at 10:05 AM on July 20, 2001


pracowity: The exteriors of people are something we all have to look at, too, but I don't mind letting people look how they look.

I think you're making an inaccurate parallel between a person's physical appearance and the appearance of a person's property. Generally an individual's identity isn't as tied to what they own as to how they look--with the possible exception of luxury car owners.

... Unless that's where you live, the place where your children play, the place where friends and family come to find you, the place you have to come home to each day.

In my experience, it was probably your children or your friends who tagged the building in the first place. You're clearly assuming that because unauthorized grafitti is vandalism that it is therefore aesthetically unpleasing (here is a refutation of that, and here's another--ok, one last one), and that because the owner of that property may not welcome the grafitti that the residents don't want it either.

The building I used to work in had a great (illegal) mural on the side by Heart (link is to a different piece by the same artist), and I used to look up and check it as part of my routine going to work every day, plus I used it to distinguish the building when giving directions. Eventually the building was repainted and re-anonymized.
posted by muta at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2001


Here (in Atlanta), in neighborhoods where gentrification is rampant, yuppies move in and paint flat color over all the graffiti. Then they buy canvas pieces in art galleries and put them in their homes. black8's post just reminded me of that little anecdote- I don't think that these people realize that any type of artistic integrity and statement made by graffiti is lost when it's commodified like that. A quote by the bay-area writer (I think) eskae comes to mind:

"graffiti is a kick in the face to the gallery/museum system, where the artist is pimped like a whore for the capitalist system, made into another commodity for people to buy...graffiti art is free for all to come and view, no-one can own it, it belongs to all of us."

A nice Atlanta graff site for anyone that's interested is Paint My Face.
posted by kidsplate at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2001


Oh, I meant to also have a link to this piece by Totem and Hesk in there also: This One's For Everyone. For everyone that is vehemently anti-graffiti, I propose that, just once, you think of a meaningful statement you'd like to make about yourself, your family, friends, or whatever, and go throw it up on a public wall that's already covered with graffiti (in case you're worried about defacing something clean). It's a thrill and gives a feeling of power like nothing else.
posted by kidsplate at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2001


If I am the owner of a building, graffiti costs me money. Every time someone paints up one of my walls, I have to get it repainted. That gets expensive if I have to do it every week. If graffiti artists would leave a couple hundred bucks to cover the costs of undoing the damage they do, they might get a little more respect. But that would mean taking responsibility for their actions, so it's doubtful.
posted by kindall at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2001


"graffiti is a kick in the face to the gallery/museum system, where the artist is pimped like a whore for the capitalist system, made into another commodity for people to buy...graffiti art is free for all to come and view, no-one can own it, it belongs to all of us."

Those fucking capitalists! Oh, wait, that's us. Art is a commodity for people to buy; luckily, it just happens to be a lot more meaningful (I hope) than a box of ramen noodles. That's why I charge tickets for people to come see me act. If the theater is "pimping me like a whore" (as opposed to pimping me like . . . what?), then so be it. This is an ancient, tiresome argument. I'm performing a service in exchange for remuneration. It's a job. Do you have one? Who's pimping you?
posted by Skot at 11:13 AM on July 20, 2001


It's a thrill and gives a feeling of power like nothing else.

When rational, logical, legal and moral arguments fail, the appeal to emotion comes last. To refer back to my prior analogy - walking up and punching someone in the mouth is a thrill and gives a feeling of power lke nothing else, too. That doesn't make it legitimate, or right to do so.
posted by Dreama at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2001


I'm off to practice a little of my own graffiti. I work mainly in black and blue. If it hurts, it worked. If they complain, I "graffiti" them some more.

Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to spray paint ends at the edge of your property.

Property is not a person.
posted by jbushnell at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2001



walking up and punching someone in the mouth is a thrill and gives a feeling of power lke nothing else, too. That doesn't make it legitimate

I think it's been amply suggested already in this thread that graffiti is legitimate in some circles because of its illegitimacy in other circles.

Yes, it's illegal-- and I don't see anyone suggesting that it should be otherwise. But this adds to its legitimacy for people who appreciate 'outlaw culture.'

To attempt to define something as socially 'legitimate' in any sort of all-encompassing absolute sense is futile, and will only generate noise.
posted by jbushnell at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2001



Graffiti is an attack on the poor. Rich people do not have to live with graffiti if they don't want to, and it is the surest sign that people are helpless in their communities. The recent J.Lo thread ended on an interesting note about how we possibly should not use words even if we have no problem with them because of the way they make others feel. How am I supposed to feel coming home and seeing someone's name on my home. If the goal is to make me angry enough to not care about your basic right to life, congratulations, yer an artist. Now I am cranky.
posted by thirteen at 2:25 PM on July 20, 2001


how would you feel about it if it wasn't on your home but on the side of a warehouse or the wall of a building facing a parking lot?
posted by muta at 4:35 PM on July 20, 2001


> You're clearly assuming that because unauthorized
> grafitti is vandalism that it is therefore aesthetically
> unpleasing

No. As I said earlier, "Putting graphics on someone's property without the owner's permission is vandalism. Whether it's also art, kitsch, advertisement, or just dogs pissing on hydrants is another question."

After seeing thousands of examples of graffiti, I know that the wallsprayers are not artists. The three "refutations" you linked to are boring scrawls, overinflated doodles. If they are art at all, they are of the velvet-Elvis school, the side-of-a-van school. Art for dumb guys. If that's the best the spraypainter can do, he should give up.

That's what is so bad about graffiti: no one is doing great art in the middle of the night, no one is granting free artistic wonders to the world. If graffiti was real art, many building owners would be happy to display it (or to remove the painted section of the wall and sell it) and the wallsprayers would all stop giving it away and start charging for it. But graffiti is unwanted because it is always crap, unwanted crap from people who have no idea they are doing crap, so they don't give up.

> and that because the owner of that property may not
> welcome the grafitti that the residents don't want it
> either.

The spraypainters don't ask the residents what they want. They don't care what the residents want, they just spray because they must break something to feel good. That's an essential part of the enjoyment.
posted by pracowity at 8:33 AM on July 21, 2001


okay I think it was a mistake to get so deeply into a discussion about graffiti without acknowledging its role as an aspect of Hip-Hop culture (along with MC'ing, DJ'ing and break dancing). I just came back from an exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts called Hip-Hop Nation, where graffiti that had, in my opinion, less artistic value than some of the examples I linked to was hanging on the walls. They also asked a local graf artist to tag the gallery floor using colored sand.

I'm no historian and I won't pretend to be here, but the tradition of graffiti as art is varied and complex, and it deserves the recognition that exhibits like the above are starting to give it.

That's what is so bad about graffiti: no one is doing great art in the middle of the night, no one is granting free artistic wonders to the world.

Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat both started as graffiti artists. More recently Barry McGee (aka Twist), Margaret Kilgallen, Doze Green, Andrew Shoultz and Dave Kinsey are showing in galleries, designing book covers and posters, and doing all other kinds of legitimate art stuff.

If graffiti was real art, many building owners would be happy to display it (or to remove the painted section of the wall and sell it)

There are dozens of commissioned graffiti art pieces adorning corner stores, buildings and concrete freeway supports here in San Francisco. One of Twist's commissioned pieces was stolen, panel by panel, from the side of a building south of market--probably for a private collection because they couldn't get away with selling it publicly.

My point is that I can give an example that meets any measure you define as a qualification for 'real art.'
posted by muta at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2001


how would you feel about it if it wasn't on your home but on the side of a warehouse or the wall of a building facing a parking lot?

I don't know, how would you feel if I used hateful racial slang about the guy standing next to you?
posted by thirteen at 9:50 PM on July 22, 2001


> I just came back from an exhibit at the Yerba Buena
> Center for the Arts called Hip-Hop Nation, where ...

Where they are trying desperately to appeal to an artless generation. They will put Johnny Bravo and the Powerpuff Girls on the walls if it will bring in customers and get their name in the journals.

> My point is that I can give an example that meets
> any measure you define as a qualification for 'real art.'

Haring and Basquiat both started doing art before boredom and their teenage hormones sent them out into the streets with markers. That they spent some time writing on walls says little about the quality of graffiti.

You can cite rare exceptions to any measure of anything, but that doesn't show anything exept that every measure has rare exceptions. You have shown nothing about graffiti in general. You may as well say short fat guys are a danger to the world because napoleon was short and fat.

The vast majority of graffiti remains garbage. Garbage in the studio, where the extremely rare future artist is learning and the rest of the multitude are just brainlessly dicking around, is fine. Garbage on the street is garbage on the street.
posted by pracowity at 11:45 PM on July 22, 2001


You have shown nothing about graffiti in general.

I wasn't writing about graffiti in general--you made the absolute statement that "no one is doing great art," so I gave you several examples of people who do.

But I avoided bringing those examples up earlier because artistic legitimacy is not something that the typical graffiti writer strives for. I agree that if you removed the avarage graffiti artist's tag from its environment and plopped it on a canvas, it would look like amateur art.

But that's because removing a tag from its environment removes it from its context, and a truly ugly tag can still have value based on how visible it is (and how many people will see it), whether it comments on what surrounds it (billboards, the neighborhood, politics) and how difficult it was to place--I've seen tags that required some serious climbing equipment, a strong heart and a steady hand.
posted by muta at 9:20 AM on July 23, 2001


> ...artistic legitimacy is not something that the typical
> graffiti writer strives for.

Fine. Then don't excuse it as art and don't call the perpetrator an artist.

And I agree, in the course of committing it, the vandal may indeed employ

> some serious climbing equipment, a strong heart and
> a steady hand

just to paint his lame stylized initials high up on a liquor store wall. But most just use a marker, do it at street level, and run like dogs if confronted.
posted by pracowity at 10:57 PM on July 23, 2001


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