Explore Graffiti and Learn How Blue is the sky, how Green is the Grass

Is graffiti wrong, a scourge on our lovely little world? Yes, indeed. Is it ugly and unwanted, case closed? The range of comments on the Wordless Wednesday photo below indicate that it is and it isn't. Some folks enjoy it while others hate it. Others will cruise on by and not give it a second thought. Still others think writers ought to have some legal place where they can let off some of their creative steam.

Good or bad? Pretty or ugly? Right or wrong? Wherever you might stand on these questions, if you stand anywhere at all, you can't help noticing graffiti is everywhere in the form of spray paint, acid etches, stencils, stickers, carvings.

The truth of the matter is that right or wrong is not a worthwhile question because it pressures us to take sides, and side-taking never accomplishes anything good, creative, or even mildly interesting. Over the past several years as I have photographed graffiti, I have let the questions go. I just look and let it be and follow the lines and colors wherever they lead. The effect is that I take a close look at the world around me--in cities and suburbs, under highways and bridges, and into all the little spaces in between.

Graffiti is about the close look. It is about the temporary suspension of disbelief, the negative capability that defines pure freedom. Suspend the questions and the judgments, the preconceived notions, and live in awareness of the walls around you and you can't help noticing how blue is the sky, green the grass, still the water.

Artists are not moral arbiters but seekers. For artists, creators, poets, people who live here and now in a this world, the question is not what's wrong or right but what makes it beautiful. Take a look: Strange Attractions: Exploring Graffiti.


  1. Anonymous2:48 PM

    The good stuff, usch as in the photograph with this post, is the stuff that really makes you look over and over again.

    The tag stuff, that's not done with any art in mind, that's the stuff that leaves you angry. That's the stuff that is a mark just for a mark's sake.


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