Thursday, July 10, 2008

Creativity Watch ...is Vandalism a Crime??? or our last freedom of expression?

I do think that some graffiti is just a 'plain mess' however with the decline in creativity and lack of funding for youth arts projects, graffiti may become the 'reluctant hero' of self expression from young people. I do feel that some 'tags' can make trains look rather grim..and depressing but the nostalgic in me thinks that without some kind of rebellion and anarchy from the young makes for a drab capital. After all who are we gonna complain about, remember we use to complain about the vandalism not the latest victim of knife crime. When there were more tag wars there were less knife killings, although this statement doesn't discount some fatalities due to gangs tagging over an existing signature. However the weapon of choice has now become a knife not a spray can. And now we have marketed our vandalism with exhibitions and books even 'Banksy' appears not to like the media limelight and good for him too.
Will our 'Olympic' and soon to be
an esthetically pleasing capital be surrounded by ghost of creativity past forgot and will this have an effect on the already increasing knife victims that are on the increase in this Capital....

Anyway thats my argument and in the spirit of MA AT here is an article on Vandalism and graffiti

Graffiti - When Art Becomes a Crime

By: Patrick Omari


As the train pulls into London Victoria train station and commuters arrive for another day's work in the city, those that look out of the window will notice an abundance of 'tags' that adorn the carriages and walls. There will be many reactions to these pieces of art ranging from appreciation of the skill involved to disgust at the lack of respect for private property. Whether you love or hate graffiti and the various forms of graffiti art, the main issue that critics raise is that it is illegal and the artist is therefore a criminal.

The most famous of all graffiti artists is the notoriously elusive
Banksy. His pieces are generally satirical statements and his targets have ranged from Disney to the Mona Lisa. The so-called 'guerilla art' that Banksy is responsible for has become hugely popular with the general public as well as with art-buying celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera. At Sotheby's in 2007, three of his works fetched a combined total of 170,400 pounds with one piece alone selling for over 100,000. Banksy reacted to this growing popularity by adding the following comment to his own website 'I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This S***.' Enough said.

As the most high-profile graffiti artist in the UK today,
Banksy's work encourages many copycats and aspiring contemporaries. However, for every Banksy there will be so many more graffiti artists that lack the creativity, wit and skill to produce 'art' and so their stylings will be regarded solely as a nuisance. Can we really set one rule for Banksy and another for a young kid spraying his name on the side of someone's house? Critics will point to the fact that graffiti is criminal damage and its artistic merits are irrelevant to the argument.

The law surrounding graffiti is far more black-and-white than people's reactions to it.
Banksy's murals spark debate wherever they appear and moreso due to the high value that the pieces now achieve at auction. In a London street, council workers recently whitewashed a Banksy original after some residents complained. One council spokesman commented that 'it's graffiti and we treat it that way' proving that if residents complain then the 'art' will be removed.

The law denotes that graffiti is criminal damage and the maximum sentence if convicted is 10 years imprisonment. The severity of this sentence indicates how seriously the government considers graffiti to be, and the impact it will have on the wider community. Residential areas with excessive levels of graffiti will often be associated with neglect and poverty. However inaccurate or accurate this assumption may be, it is believed that when graffiti has been removed quickly then it is less likely to reappear. People take pride in where they live and should not have to suffer for someone
else's art.

It is hard to associate
Banksy with the graffiti artists that spray poorly designed and conceived logos on bus shelters and shop windows across the country. But we must compare them as they adopt the principles that constitute the fundamental qualities of graffiti. However much we appreciate the intelligence behind the design and the skill in its execution, graffiti is in its very nature a criminal act and little more.

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2 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

Isn't it both? It seems to me that graffiti is, at its best, a form of artistic rebellion, which would lose its nature as rebellion were it not a crime.

At its worst, however, it is ugly and stupid, particularly when kids spray paint their "tags" over street art--taking seconds to uglify something that an artist--whether legally or illegally--put real time and inspiration into.

creativehealinggoddess said...

I hear you...I have seen some ugly "tags" which I call 'visual termites' The termites in question needs the assistance of the environmental health department to remove asap before an infestation of a tagging war begins.

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