Tag Archives: tagging

This is not Art.

Ok… I’m a little peeved, so please excuse.

There was a big warehouse party in my neighborhood Friday night to celebrate the birthdays of several graffiti artists. The flyer was super-cool and the party was right around the corner from me so I was kind of excited to check it out.

There were DJs, live bands, an outdoor firepit, and tons and tons of kids (what I call “kids”… I think I was the second oldest person there!) It surely seemed like a great time for everyone else, but I ducked out early as tall PBR’s aren’t really my cup of tea (did you see my post on The Trappist? – that’s more my style). Walking back around the block we spotted numerous kids (aka young men) tearing up and down the street… the rattling sound of shaking spray-paint cans echoing against the concrete and brick. They were tagging anything and everything, in a neighborhood they don’t live in.  Would they do this on the block where they live??!

The next morning I surveyed the damage.

Here are just a few pictures of my neighbor’s building…

tags, tagging, spraypaint, lame graffiti

graffiti, spray paint, lame graffiti, tagging, tags

graffiti, spray paint, lame graffiti, tagging, tags

graffiti, spray paint, lame graffiti, tagging, tags

graffiti, spray paint, lame graffiti, tagging, tags

I’m sorry, but this is not cool. In fact, it’s incredibly LAME.

You heard me… I don’t care if I sound like a stodgy old fart. That brick building is home to people who actually live in this neighborhood… working artists and interesting people. Do they deserve to have their property disrespected like this?

And what’s worse is that I know some of the people who did this are actually talented artists. There was a collection of wonderful poster art inside the party, with interesting and thought-provoking messages. This is Art…

graffiti art, graffiti artists, poster art, oscar grant art

It’s too bad these kids didn’t collaborate, and actually do something interesting, something that might be considered a complement to the neighborhood that would live on and inspire others. Instead, they created a bunch of eyesores that we’ll all have to spend money to remove. Thanks a lot guys. Pretty lame.

There are laws about these things…

So here’s another creation from the artist we’ve been stalking much of this week… These are much larger stickers (11 x 14″ I think) and have been reproduced, unlike the individually hand-drawn stickers from Tuesday.

It took me awhile to decipher this image, which is kind of what makes it interesting… in the first photo below you’ll see that I’ve added some yellow highlighting to help show my points.  In the top image you can see the basic face that we’ve seen on his/her other stickers (wide square nose, thick lips)… it’s almost identical to the face seen on the newspaper rack yesterday.  But in this piece, the artist has added another level of complexity. In the bottom image, see the outline of a man riding a motorcycle… the eyebrows become shoulders, the nose his torso, the lips seem to be handlebars, and there are two side view mirrors above his knees which frame the front wheel.

oaktownart_20090910_2

And another…

oaktownart_20090910

In both of these instances, the artist has chosen to place his stickers on public property…

Of course, there are laws about these things, and it’s really up to the individual artist to decide where he (she) deems it appropriate to place his art, and what risks he is willing to undertake. Many street artists feel it is hypocritical of our society to criminalize public displays of art, while endorsing massive public displays of private advertising campaigns that we literally cannot avoid.

Just the other day, I was at the corner of 51st and Broadway, and in just a portion of my line of sight were 5 huge billboards, all virtually screaming at me to buy something. Ick.

Despite this, I am definitely not a proponent of defacing/enhancing/altering (whatever you want to call it) private property without permission. My own building has been tagged with spray paint (in a manner I would not deem artistic), and I can tell you it’s a real pain in the ass to clean up.

I like Keri Smith‘s take on this subject… she uses materials that are environmentally friendly, non-destructive, or often temporary in nature (like chalk or soap), and prefers to post her creations on temporary construction walls. She rarely posts art on privately owned buildings or property. (The Guerilla Art Kit)