21 January 2010

If you're going to. . .

frikkin do it properly, please.

Our local high school was hit with a plague of "graffiti" this morning. But what I cannot describe in words to you is the "chicken scratch technique" this child used to scrawl drivel ("why so serious?" Honestly.) on the brick veneer of the building. This person clearly had as much experience with a can of spray paint as I do. Which comes to a total of perhaps 5 or 6 minutes.

The word graffiti, as is commonly known, actually comes from an Italian word graffito, which means a carved inscription or a design. We think of it as "defacing" something, when it's really public art. It takes a lot of skill and practice (and a good deal of talent) to excel at tagging. And it IS art.

Graffiti does NOT mean what this kid thought it did. I also think that, if they were better educated about why people tag things, peopl would take more interest in the graffiti that may be a daily part of their lives. If done well, graffiti is beautiful. And I love the idea that graffiti is the opening of a public dialogue. Think about it. If I knew anyone with real skill in graffiti, they'd be working on the brick of our house right now. It'd be a heck of a lot better than the salmon color it currently is. And public discourse of almost any kind is something we desperately need these days. Everyone's constantly communicating without really depositing anything in eachother anymore. How frequently do you have conversations that transform you? It's so hard these days, even though we're only a text away from eachother.

For now, I'll leave you [click on the post title] in/with the capable hands of Barry McGee, an incredible artist with a lot of cool ideas on graffiti and public art. He does other fantastic things besides tagging, if you're interested. Love.

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