Saturday, September 26, 2015

Suppose . . .

that you were riding your bike enjoying the weather and saw a young man laying down his bike at the entrance to the tunnel ahead of you.  Suppose he pulled a can a spray paint out of his back pack just as you rode up.  Suppose he looked at you at that moment.

What would you do?  What would you say?

Would you treat this like seeing some rarely seen critter and stop and watch?

Would you not even notice and zip on by?

Would you pull out your cell phone and call 911?

Such were my thoughts as I went through a tunnel and noticed all the graffiti that normally I didn't see because coming from the light into the dark with sunglasses on makes it hard to see.

I'm partial to graffiti, though I can see multiple sides to the issue. 

Movies like" Exit Through The Gift Shop" give one the sense of why people tag walls. 

And of course Banksy takes graffiti up to the top ranks of political art.  His work is artistically first rate, his content is trenchant, and the placement of his work meaningful.  This Anchorage tunnel graffiti is, well, not great art.

If this were showing up on your house or your fence, you'd be unhappy.  At least this is on public walls and in a tunnel where only people going through the tunnel see it.  And if you're speeding by on a bike on a sunny day, the sudden change in light would make it likely your pupils wouldn't adjust in time to even see it.

What is the lure for these budding artists?  The term 'tags' suggests the messages dogs leave on fire hydrants and trees.  How many REFs are scattered around Anchorage?

I did get to talk to several graffiti artists - and these guys had serious artistic skill - at the library's innovation lab graffiti exhibit.  Here you can see  their work and pictures of the artists MENO, ewok, Bisco, and Will.

Some property owners have come to appreciate graffiti and given permission for artists to paint on their walls - as in this example of a Banksy in LA which the gas station owner took with him after he sold the gas station.    But that post also highlights a very young man who was killed by police for painting walls.

This one shows a bit more promise.  There isn't a lot of time to get your work up, unless you come late at night.

So, supposing you came across the creator of one of these Zero Percent for the Arts additions to public works with spray can in hand?

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