Killed, maimed, art made impermanent and wasted- what for?
Canadian Graffiti Writers Killed (news video link)
In the 70’s Graffiti exploded in New York. The transit system looked like a modern midieval artistic mad war had been fought, and the scars of that war were like a dark living breathing organism one had to exist in if you wanted to use that system.Vandalism as an artistic act of rebellion against the system- because there was a voice that wanted to be heard, a class and part of the culture that had something to say- and no one was listening. Art of a criminal kind, just because they could. This spawned a worldwide movement, albeit slow to catch on, the commonalities shared by artists in the urban environment could not be denied and the movement took shape, remaining underground and non-commercialized for ages.
This is all well and good- freaking cool, right? It may be, and for the artist struggling to express him or herself, it’s an invaluable medium to feel successful at- succeeding against the system- but sometimes, and personally I think, every time, the price is too high, the cost is too much to pay. In places abroad, artists are still imitating those decades old acts of rebellion and paying with their lives, if not just the value of their art which to me, is the equivalent.
Screw the cost to the government, right? These artists don’t care about the quantative rise in costs to the general public that stem from clean up of their vandalism- of course, to hell with that, despite the fact that they are part of the problem, not the solution. No different than so many other groups who stand against the system I suppose, oblivious to the way they contribute to the problems they like to gripe about. That point is for another discussion though, and this discussion is about the value of art, the value of a life, and the life of an artist- to the artist, to the art lover and to the world around them..
It’s a case for Graffitti Park. Take the art off the streets as vandalism. To the artists, I have to say, why? Why are you risking your record, or rather getting a criminal one, risking your life, and throwing away the value of your very art- which is to throw your self away. If you succeed, you take a picture, you high five each other, and you walk away- the system “buffs” you- and your art is gone- and as an artist- when your art is gone, so are you. No one gets to SEE it! If you are an artist- and you are your art, how I am my own, then tell me, what is the sense in this? Do you like being a rebel so much that you can say you are comfortable with hiding your identity? You can’t claim you are the artist that created that mural unless you are OK with prosecution for the vandalism. What is your cause? None, other than to advertise yourself in this way. So you contradict yourself! You advertise yourself in a way that forces you into anonymity. Guess what- as cool as it may sound- we have a hero doing that already- Banksy. And do you know what he looks like? No. He hides his identity because he’s done so much artistic protest that he’d be bankrupt and in jail the rest of his life if he revealed his identity to anyone that wouldn’t keep it secret.
You create, for it to be destroyed, and for you never to be able to take real credit. Is a picture on a website enough? I say that’s pathetic. I say, if you want to be a rebel- either be cliché and imitate Banksy, or turn yourself in after committing the crime- do the time, pay the fine, and claim a cause. Then you’d be a martyr and a hero. What? No cause? What cause could there be? That you protest a clean rail car? Don’t be an idiot. The only reason you do it is because you saw an old movie like Style Wars or saw a book like Subway Art or Spraycan Art and you thought it was cool, like I did.
If you are young, I understand, I was there. But if you’re older, mature, you have no excuse not to have grown the hell up. You’ve had long enough- where is the example you should be setting so that the youth don’t still consider this the way to go?
It would make more sense for an artist to go to an abandoned train yard and lobby the community to save/ preserve the rail car as a work of art. I know if somewhere in a yard they found a top to bottom by Lee, may he rest in peace, or Dondi, I would personally chain myself to the train before I let them destroy it. To me, that’s like finding a lost Picasso, or Michelangelo.
But to put a fine point on it- you are throwing away your talent, your art and as the article shows, your life on a meaningless act of rebellion.
If it doesn’t matter to the community, which it should and this is as much an appeal to the municipalities where this is happening to care- as it is an appeal to the artists who SHOULD care about their art- get behind proposals like my Graffitti Park for a place to write, paint, create, that is safe, legal and can give you the notoriety you deserve.
And if not notoriety, then just a place where I can see your work, and not a blood stained railroad track where you used to be and a work of art that will soon be sand blasted or chemical peeled off a formerly nice and shiny rail car.
Read the Graffitti Park Proposal. Talk about it. Get behind it. Save the lives of some young impressionable angst ridden artists.
Take a look at a similar (less developed) graffiti park in France… LINK
It’s a shame people, artists or potential artists are dieing. By the tags you can tell they were young and their craft was developing. It’s too bad we won’t see more of it.