Your thoughts on street art

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Samuel's picture
Samuel
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Sep 2 2006 17:54
Your thoughts on street art

Hello all. I was wondering what people on this site think about steet art (i.e. stencils, posters, etc). I'll give you a brief summary of my thoughts on the subject.
I myself am a street artist. I do not damage personal property of people, I do not resort to that sort of mindless vandalism. I like to find a rich, corporate area and put up a nice political stencil. I don't put up anything like "fuck the police," I pride myself on conveying my message in a more intelligent way. Stencils can get people thinking. Thats what I like about it, the placement is everything (I live in the home of KFC headquarters, perfect target smile ). I see it as a way to take back an area that was bought out by corporate fat cats. So what are your opinions on street art and how it's a part of a libertarian philosophy? Agree or disagree, I would like to know what you think. This is my first post as a libcom member, by the way.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 2 2006 18:03

hi Samuel, welcome to the boards!

i don't know if i have an opinion on street art in general any more than art in general tongue

if its done well or makes me laugh it can be good, and i certainly have no problem with 'detourning' corporate property. I suppose a downside is that people may tend to associate radical politics with 'vandals', but again i suppose how well its done determines that. I don't know if it relates to libertarian philosophy much, although you could argue its a form of reappropriating public space i suppose ...

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Sep 2 2006 18:11

I guess I should've more clear on what I meant by "how it's a part of a libertarian philosophy." It seems you got what I meant though, "reappropriating public space." Nicely put. Corporations can plaster their opinions and orders all over a city, can't we have more of a voice? Your opinion is appreciated.

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Nemo
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Sep 2 2006 18:14

Hi Sam. Welcome to libcom!

I'm not sure art is anymore radical than what it says generally. But I suppose that making art (street or otherwise) free is not a bad thing. Rich people have a habit of making worthless art valuable by buying it up at high prices to show off to their rich friends -- "Look what I just bought for £1 million, darling. A turd on a stick! Isn't it marvellous? Pass the champers!" So I do like the idea of free art, even if it isn't that radical.

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Samuel
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Sep 2 2006 18:21

Another one of my favorite things to do on the streets is make a colorful, multilayer stencil of a monkey or something just to make people laugh. Mr. T Sometimes people just need a break from all of this political noise ya know? Beautifying an area is just as important to street art as conveying a political message. The world needs more of that......

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Sep 2 2006 18:29

I don't know whether you've read Geroge Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, or not. But when he gets to London he meets a "screever" (street artist) called Bozo, who would draw political cartoons on the pavement. So I guess this kind of thing has a history, no doubt going much further back than the 30s.

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Samuel
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Sep 2 2006 18:33

Actually, I have not read that book yet, but Orwell is becoming one of my favorite authors. He does also right on walls (I guess that can count as street art lol) in "Homage to Catalonia." He writes "VISCA POUM."

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Sep 2 2006 18:40

So he does! I forgot about that. Though it has more of a naughty school boy feel to it though, than radical revolutionary! wink

I take your point about beautifying an area though. When ever my local council tries that ( where I am in the UK) it all goes terribly wrong. A few years back they spent something like £1 million putting in an ugly looking fountain outside of an ugly looking Argos store. After kids kept putting bubble bath in it, they ripped it out again (at God knows what expense). roll eyes

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tea leaves
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Sep 2 2006 21:21

Graffiti & Posters - There’s more effort in tackling graffiti than there is on stopping people from puking up and throwing rubbish on streets and public transport areas. What does common sense tell you? Graffiti is mainly criminalised and demonised by the government because it is a way of getting a message out to the public that bypasses mainstream sources of information which are tightly controlled. Think of how many people drive by plain walls everyday on their way to work? The hundreds of people who look at the same windows and walls on the insides/outsides of trains. is a form of organising and getting information and images out to other people....

Graffiti has been used to start revolutions, stop wars and is the voice of the people who aren't listened to, hell your bus, station, walls of trains and buses are your public, community billboards so use them.

Banksy: People say there is a graffiti problem. the only problem with graffiti is that there sin't enought of it
Imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal, a city where everybody could draw wherever they like. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a living breathing thing which belonged to everybody, not just the estate agents and barons of big buisness. Imagine a city like this and stop leaning against that wall-it's wet.

Banksy: Twisted little people go out every day and deface this great city. Leaving their idiotic little scribblings, invading communities and making people feel dirty and used. They just take, take, and they don't put anything back. They're mean and selfish and they make the world an ugly place to be.
We call them advertising agencies and town planners.

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Sep 2 2006 21:47
tea leaves wrote:
Graffiti is mainly criminalised and demonised by the government because it is a way of getting a message out to the public that bypasses mainstream sources of information which are tightly controlled.

So there is a secret political message in the "dave is a toser" graffiti I've been seeing around the place near where I live? wink

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Sep 2 2006 23:41

Well it really depends upon how you define art. I'm not a fan of stencils myself as I think that they remove the element of craft, which for me is essential. In an environment where most art requires no skill to create I am certainly in a minority.
Street art is good, when it is art, when it is intelligent, of course these thigns are subjective. I think as JK and Nemo have said it's good when art reclaims space. When the billboards that dominate our views are defaced or covered up. When the shitty expanses of concrete are covered up there is a tangible benefit.

Quote:
So there is a secret political message in the "dave is a toser" graffiti I've been seeing around the place near where I live?

It's a coded message. Are you cop or something? Stop destabilising the revolution ! wink

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Sep 3 2006 04:05
Samuel wrote:
Another one of my favorite things to do on the streets is make a colorful, multilayer stencil of a monkey or something just to make people laugh. Mr. T Sometimes people just need a break from all of this political noise ya know? Beautifying an area is just as important to street art as conveying a political message. The world needs more of that......

Samuel

You sound v. cool!! Keep up the good work and welcome to the boards!! I have two things to add to what has so far been said:

"Fuck the police" also has its humble place in my affections when I see it - this also cheers me up!! grin

And

"Beautifying an area" is also a political message in and of itself when carried out as a free and spontaneous act just for the love of the thing itself...i.e. lack of ego, no need to use the environment to brainwash, etc... TRUE freedom of expression is, in that moment, freedom itself..

Love

LW X

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Samuel
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Sep 3 2006 18:01

I would say I would have to agree with you on the "beautifying an area is also a political message in and of itself." I never really thought about it that way, but good point.
Thank you for the warm welcome! You would think a message board dealing with mainly political issues would have a lot more flaming going on, but libcom seems like it is for the most part intelligent people having intelligent conversations in an intelligent way.

red n black star

synth_k1d
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Sep 3 2006 18:34

yeah street art and graffiti in general is a wicked form of expression.
I paint myself, but haven't done in aaaages. Getting nicked kinda takes the wind out of your sails.
There's been some great stencils thrown up locally recently - i'd be interested to see if anyone from these forums is behind them as they certainly have explicitly political meanings. They got up a huge colour stencil right in front of the all the CCTV cameras in the most policed part of town centre (Northampton is one of the most CCTV'd places in england.)
The local council are constantly at war with graffiti, and nothing really lasts more than a few days before being removed, to the detriment of the rest of the street cleaning budget.
So many issues come to mind with regards to the authorities attitude towards graffiti and their desperation to maintain control of culture - graffiti laws are becoming increasingly drachonian in an era where the punishment of crimes against property takes increasing priority on the political agenda.
However, i suppose this is only natural given the rise in people who identify with "owning property" (although im not quite sure lower-middle-class tory voters quite see property in the same light as we do eek)

Keep bombing anyway! red n black star

...synf x

davethemagicweasel
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Sep 3 2006 21:15
Samuel wrote:
I would say I would have to agree with you on the "beautifying an area is also a political message in and of itself." I never really thought about it that way, but good point.
Thank you for the warm welcome! You would think a message board dealing with mainly political issues would have a lot more flaming going on, but libcom seems like it is for the most part intelligent people having intelligent conversations in an intelligent way.

red n black star

Heheheh. Let me assure you, libcommers can flame with the best of them if someone gives them a reason to.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of graffiti, whether it spolitical or not. Sheffield hasn't been as much fun to walk around since Fista was forced to stop sad

... or has he? Rumours abound... wink

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Steven.
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Sep 3 2006 22:54

Yeah I'm a big fan. Most graffiti in London is just kids writing "X is gay", or scrawling their name, but I just think it livens everything up. Seeing life and expression everywhere. Vandalising personal property is well out of order, but anything else is fair game. I understand that some people might be scared by it - old people walking down a graffitied alleyway say - so obviously prefer well-done, thoughtful pieces, ideally political. I like stencils too, and really like banksy, although can't take him seriously after seeing the Nathan Barley spoof book of his, which is very funny...

welcome to the boards samuel!

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Samuel
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Sep 4 2006 00:10

Well I'll try to not give them a reason smile) .
Everyone's opinion is appreciated.

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Sep 4 2006 00:21

Someone's put brightly painted potatoes with nails in them on top of all the bus stops along a certain route in London. They look like vicious little aliens, but I appreciate the effort.

It's nice when somewhere looks "lived in" wink and seeing a well painted-on tube or train carriage is always good.

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Sep 4 2006 08:03
zobag wrote:
It's nice when somewhere looks "lived in" wink and seeing a well painted-on tube or train carriage is always good.

They have a zero tolerance thing on tubes, you rarely see them with graffiti now, especially on the outside.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 4 2006 08:17
jef costello wrote:
They have a zero tolerance thing on tubes, you rarely see them with graffiti now, especially on the outside.

well thats because graffiti causes crack dealing roll eyes

only an idiotic bleeding-heart liberal would point out that correllation does not equal causation. It's a scientific fact that 98.4% of all crack dealers were in fact born (1.6% are vending machines wink ); birth is clearly a gateway to crime and we should adopt a zero tolerance approach to such subversive activity wink

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jef costello
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Sep 4 2006 08:27

Mass executions or mass sterilisation Joseph K.? I have always wavered between the two.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 4 2006 09:17
jef costello wrote:
Mass executions or mass sterilisation Joseph K.? I have always wavered between the two.

there's no need to posit an either/or, one thing zero tolerance discourse can tolerate is a deconstructive attack on instrumentalist binary oppositions, as long as it results in a triumph of good over evil wink

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Sep 4 2006 13:03

Yup political graffitti goes way back theres some in pompeii from before the volcano thing. I was there. I saw it. It was hot. I got sunburnt. But that was long ago.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 4 2006 13:32
georgestapleton wrote:
Yup political graffitti goes way back theres some in pompeii from before the volcano thing.

nullum iustitia, nullus pax wink

*waits for grace to correct it*