15 January 2013 - 6:40 pm

Inconsiderate art

Photo by Dr Case

Photo by Dr Case

I love graffiti. By this, I mean graffiti art, not tagging. I hate tagging. I don’t get it. It’s juvenile, it’s ugly, it’s pointless, and all it proves is that someone can be a dick with a can of spray paint. It’s vandalism, straight up. It’s not art (nor is it intended to be, as far as I can tell).But the other stuff is different. I enjoy the surprise art on my way to work every morning, the splashes of colour snuck onto walls and pillars and panels. Words I can’t read, symbols that mean nothing to me personally, but it’s art. It’s colourful and bright, and far more interesting to look at than blank concrete or brick or wood. I can appreciate the skill that goes into it. There used to be a huge graffiti ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ about halfway to work, and it made me smile every time I saw it. (I was so sad when it got painted over.)

One morning last week, I looked up from my usual typing on my way to work (my train commute is when I get most of my writing done these days), and my love for graffiti trembled.

Near the stations approaching the city centre, there are a number of murals. They’re community projects and they brighten up an otherwise pretty dingy section of track. They’re well done and lovely in their own right.

We lost one over a year months ago, when a graffiti artist decided to splurge a (badly-done) word-vomit across it. Last week, the long mural that stretches the whole distance between two stations and celebrates the local creative arts got the same treatment. A large section of it is covered in graffiti now. More of it is peppered with tags. The beautiful eagle that covers an entire wall has even got a tag on it.

For fuck’s sake. There are plenty of blank surfaces around to put that shit on, and they have to go and do it on someone else’s artwork? Art that someone has gone to the trouble of getting permission to put up. Art that was done in conjunction with a school (at least one of the murals had a school’s name on it). How many hearts did they just break?

I know if it was my work, I’d be in tears. I know how hard it is to put your work – your art – out there in the world for others to see. I know how hard it can be to hear harsh words said about it, to get negative feedback. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have it just destroyed like that.

Because of people like that, artwork has been painted over and lost to all of us (the council paints over graffiti regularly with plain paint). Are they creating something just as awesome in its place? No, they’re not. Graffiti artists should aspire to be as awesome as those mural artists. It’s what they should grow up to be.

I’m astounded by such selfishness and lack of respect for someone else’s art. I’m saddened that something that brightened my day has been taken away.

Grow up, graffiti artists. Or fuck off, if that’s your attitude, because I don’t have time for you. You make me sad and angry.

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