Thursday Thirteen 44: Graffiti

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As graffiti has gained credibility in the mainstream (click here for more on that), I have enjoyed thinking of the time when my interest in graffiti marked me as somehow dark and deviant among the more conservative of my beloveds, who challenged me often and much about the nature of this art. Their challenges made me think hard and long about what I liked and why. I have loved graffiti all my life for many reasons even if it is obnoxious and unacceptable by definition. It is as beautiful as it is gritty and raw--which features are also beautiful to me. The other day I had the opportunity to spend some time with a friend who was willing to have a look at this stuff that I love. Our time together got me thinking again about some of the reasons I love graffiti:

1. The writing on the wall--the lines, colors, shapes, and textures--is an urban calligraphy that I find exciting and beautiful.

2. The other day I found myself talking with some old friends and a new one about graffiti. This person I had never met before mapped his town by its graffiti sites. Graffiti created a connection through conversation. I love that.

3. On my own and with others, I have set out looking for graffiti. We wander and
look and see things in completely new ways.


4. When we find it, we stand back and enjoy the color. The wall stops being the wall; it becomes the world of another story.

5. Often, I visit legal walls where the writers have the permission of the owners to write. This work is painstakingly beautiful.

6. Despite its being legal--a no-no for many writers who argue legal graffiti is not graffiti at all--it is a challenge to the grey people.

7. Graffiti is an artistic idiom that challenges my ideas about order, creativity, harmony, honesty.


8. Always, I come to the conclusion that there is no finer way to be challenged than through art; graffiti counts.


9. Graffiti and its pseudonyms and spontaneity, strength and personality, reminds me that we are alone and anonymous


10. but no less beautiful because of these curious conditions.


11. By recognizing these things for what they are, we find a way out of them. In those places where civic-minded mural projects have grown up in response to graffiti, we can see a creative dialogue writ large on the walls. That's my kind of struggle.


12. We connect--under bridges, on the sides of buildings, on mailboxes, in the street--


13. because we want to be here and we want you to know it and to love us for the magic and creativity that defines us heart and soul.


It's all good.


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Comments

  1. I find it such a sad art form, so temporary. It's a shame it can't move onto some sort of formal canvas where some of the more beautiful expressions can be saved.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo
    http://thepinkflamingo.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2008/7/30/3814345.html

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  2. I suppose the temporary nature of it - the lack, for many, of a true home for their art - is a sign of the times. As art reflects the times, it MUST be art.

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  3. Most graffiti that I come across looks like trashy, uneducated garbage. But it is refreshing to see graffiti like you have posted that looks like actual art. I'm not making sense. Stupid cold pills... :) Love this post. Thanks for sharing this Thursday!

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  4. You know I have seen a LOT of great pieces of work in and around big cities. It's graffiti, yes, and most people see it as a 'nasty' word. Well, gang related probably is, but if you stop and look at the time and work involved on some of these they're astounding.

    My 13 is posted...drop by and have a laugh or two! Won't you?

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  5. I love when there are brightly colored murals painted on buildings but it really upsets me to see walls defaced and owners left on the hook to clean them up, when they are vandalised with graffiti. It is something with a good and bad side, that's for sure.

    www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

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  6. Graffiti can spice up a dull wall or building, but only if a real artist does it. I've seen beautiful graffiti, but also very ugly stuff.
    My TT has 13 posts without comments.

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  7. Anonymous7:18 PM

    I haven't seen a lot of graffiti that I would call art. I think having outlets for artistic creation in schools would help. Unfortunately art is not longer available in many schools.

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  8. Graffiti can be nice, but there times when I get so angry that some moron decided to "destroy' property.

    Of course, I am talking about all the gang stuff.

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  9. I agree with you... that coming to the conclusion t there is no finer way to be challenged than through art... Happy TT! Hope you can drop by at my corner too...

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  10. i wonder if we should consider rock art graffiti?

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  11. Anonymous7:57 PM

    I have a real fascination with graffiti. I guess I grew up in LA where/when tagging first "blossomed". In Denver, they hired the biggest taggers to do a number of amazing public works. Now they are painting adverts. so it comes full circle. Life, human beings, are so simple and so fascinating.

    Great post. Happy TT

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  12. Beautiful street art and skill. I hope these artists can one day sell their art.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. Some graffiti is awesome. True artistry at work. I just don't like the kind that is meant to deface or destroy, like gang signs.

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  14. I wish more legal walls were around. Some of the work is so beautiful.

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  15. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Thank you for taking on a tour of an art form I haven't considered.
    Very moving.

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  16. Some graffiti can be beautiful but the tagging gets to me. Happy TT.

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  17. A new way of looking at graffiti! Thanks for enlightening me.

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  18. Very kewl list. I applaud you on behalf of my nephew. An amazing graffiti artist. Happy T13!

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  19. Graffiti can be so artistic. It is just a shame it is open to all weathers. I love all the art you have posted on this. There are some very talented artists out there.

    From this weekend I will not have internet access as I will be away so...
    Obviously come over when you like, but...
    If you get near a computer on Tuesday 5th, have a look at my post because there'll be an award for you. I'll be away so it's a scheduled post for 1am Tuesday (my time zone!)

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  20. I think there are hapless artists screaming for attention with beautiful graffiti on the undersides of tunnels, and there are also bored people scribbling on a wall.

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  21. Thanks for the insight on this "art-form". Reminds me of the 2nd and 5th graders I taught that had "incredible" artistic abilities. Their notebooks, textbooks, and everything they touched exhibited their art work. My simple response was, to openly praise their creativity. Had I been older and wiser, I could have done(said)much more...had I but known.

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  22. I fully agree with your points, Sandy.
    It's true, the art speaks intensely and deeply to everyone who welcomes it.

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  23. theatre is also temporary, and indeed, I find theatre a little bit sad. but this is nothing compared to the joy we feel, which lasts much longer.

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  24. Wow you made a great post-- that draws such responses--- I see more all the time you are such a many faceted person--

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  25. wow! i like the dimension created by the graffiti. it forms a 3D view.

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  26. I agree to 100 % ! I admire graffitis and always take the time to look at them ! Now in my summer school there was a Graffiti (or tagging) workshop it was so interesting ! I have a picture of 13 workshops on my blog today. It's only a pity that they don't have enough room for their art and so it comes sometimes to illegal graffitis on walls of houses or stations.

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  27. I think that people with such talent need to be recognized although maybe it should be put on their property? Kim

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  28. I've never seen beautiful, artistic grafitti such as what you post. What I see is always mingled in vulgarity and always includes much profanity.

    During my May visit to Boston with my SisterDears, and very much to my surprise, we found no grafitti. I was actually looking forward to finding something, and didn't.

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  29. I did see the Tate's version on the telly. It makes me realize that the term graffiti may need an alternative.
    Best wishes

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  30. Graffiti seems spontaneous and free to me.

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  31. Some of the greatest art I have seen has been graffiti art, and it is simply amazing. This piece you shared today is spectacular. Great TT theme. My 2 TT are available at:
    The Cafe's Penelope A-Z "C" T13
    and Mama Bear Reads 1st TT

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  32. I have to say that I love Graffiti art. It is sad that most people now relate Graffiti to Tagging.

    Happy TT!

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  33. I've been really impressed with the graffiti that I've seen on your site this week. I had no idea how artistic and beautiful it was. We don't have anything like this in my neck of the woods.

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  34. As I read your thoughts on graffiti as a ‘connective’ and expressive art form, I’m reminded how Randy Pausch encouraged parents to allow their children to paint the walls of their rooms. Thanks for drawing our attention to this topic this morning.
    Hugs and blessings,

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  35. Anonymous2:16 PM

    I've never seen nice looking graffiti... it usually looks so trashy to me.

    But the graffiti you are showing is pretty amazing.

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  36. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Over on my flickr set of photos from work I have a pic of some graffiti I found during one of my walks. - http://www.flickr.com/photos/themusecalliope/sets/72157605308898236/
    (My browser is currently freaking out, or I'd link you to the specific photo rather than the set, sorry.)

    Happy TT!

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  37. Anonymous3:00 PM

    As you can tell from your comments, many people don't know the difference between tagging and graffiti. Doing either in a place one is not allowed will result in the same penalty, but one is an act of creation and the other an act of destruction.

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  38. Anonymous8:39 PM

    I'd mind graffiti less around here if they were making lovely murals instead of just tagging their names on the sides of peoples houses and fences.

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  39. really amazing works of art

    as told you before, have seen graffiti with a new set of lenses because of you

    (or at least the better ones anyway :P)

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  40. as someone who has traveled the world over it often amazing where you find such beautiful art! Keep up with the great posts!

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