I am getting quite sick and tired of the "tag" phenomenon, where graffiti or street art just becomes glorified lettering .... am I just getting old or is this boring for other people? Catching the train into Melbourne a while ago I noticed that ALL of the graffiti along the railway line was lettering ... or tags really. On some of them, someone has gone to a lot of detail ... but it's just words that don't mean anything to anyone .... unless you hang out with teenage boys and you know who the "taggers" are ...
I must admit I've been looking at graffiti and street art again, since seeing the movie "Exit through the Gift Shop" earlier this year. Driving through North Fitzroy after, I recognised a sticker on the back of a sign that was an image by US street artist, Shepard Fairey - who features in the movie.
|Shepard Fairey sticker (the face one) on a sign in North Fitzroy.|
|Cat tag in Footscray on the side of a railway bridge.|
But does street art become art when it's actually commissioned? There's no risk .... the artist is either paid for the work, or at the very least given permission to paint the area. I stumbled across some recently when I took myself for a walk alongside Moonee Valley Creek (killing time before an appointment!). I can only assume that prior to the artworks, that the concrete under this bridge was a prime "tagging" spot ... and I really do prefer the end results to a bunch of spray painted lettering.
Wikipedia defines art as "the product or process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects the senses, emotions, and/or intellect." I guess the fact I've even bothered to write about it in the first place ... or taken photos of it ... makes it art. It must have affected some senses, emotions or intellect in me. And if we go by the wikipedia definition (yes I know ... not the most academic of references) then the fact that tagging affects my senses (I hate it) ... well even that may be art. (Big apologies to my friend Zette about this ... who is still fuming about the local tagger who has written "splash" on her fence .... she would really like to deal with Splash.)
So graffiti is art ... and one of my all time favourite pieces of graffiti is now long, long gone ... it used to be in Moor Street, Fitzroy ... I loved it so much I photographed it, which is great as I still get to share it with people. It's not as paintly as some of the examples above ... in fact it's quite simple ... and witty ... and that's why I still think it's great.
Simple but witty ... a bit like me at times!