Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is graffiti beautiful due to its fleeting character?

I have written before about graffiti, here: Is graffiti art or vandalism?

What saddens me most with graffiti is that most people don't see the beauty of it, and some say it's beautiful because it's ever-changing and not permanent. Why can't it be here to stay?

Right now, there's a big overhanging danger that the graffiti mecca 5ptz in NYC will be turned into an apartment complex and shopping mall. They say the graffiti artists will get a rear wall - it's not enough says one of the crew handling 5ptz. This is just another example of how money rule and not art, especially not "low brow" art like graffiti that isn't a permanent art form anyway.

5ptz is a brand and an icon since 10 years back. Banksy (famous aerosol artist) have made art here, rappers have made videos here and tourists come to see art or make art themselves here. This place is like an art gallery with its own curators who tell you which walls you can use and which walls are to be left alone. If it's demolished a part of graffiti history will go down. Something that have seemed permanent in an ever-changing culture will then only be a memory.

I think graffiti has potential for greatness and is more than "wall vandalism" that needs to be removed. At the uprising against Mubarak in Egypt - art exploded. The artists revolted and still revolt with the weapons they have at hand: art (graffiti) on walls. It's a way to communicate. Images can speak so much more to people than words, not everyone can read but most can see.

The revolutionary artists in Egypt work fast though because usually their work is painted over or defaced with black spray paint by pro-military artists. When it is, they just put up more. It's like an art war and, not to forget, a vital part of the revolution.We'll see if the Egyptian graffiti art is here to stay after the revolution.

A picture is worth a thousand words

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