Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Graffiti

It might surprise you to learn that I admire graffiti—the talent, imagination, and passion that graces the concrete overpasses, blank gray walls, bridges, and tunnels that lead into and out of the city. This is the canvas that for many years introduced angry young artists to the world, the only canvas broad enough to contain their outrage, their hatred, their pain. Now-a-days it ranks right up there as a genuine art form. Out it pours in caricature and calligraphy—bold and beautiful. Who creates graffiti? Hoods? Flunkies? Outcasts? Brilliant cartoonists? Inspired students of art? Creative geniuses? You be the judge:

Perhaps the rest of us should place our own graffiti on display—to grace the walls of our homes, our garage doors, the driveways and sidewalks that lead people to us. To tell the story of our own victories and defeats, to claim our turf, to defend our families. Perhaps each of us needs to look for a large enough canvas to contain the story of our anger, our sorrow, our hopes and dreams…and to elevate them into something extraordinary to share.

What story would you paint if you could?

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal,
a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked.
Where every street was awash with a million colors 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 state agents and barons of big business.
Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall- it's wet.


  1. I love this idea! Graffiti has always been interesting to me.

  2. Great post! I love looking at the graffiti on the train heading into Philly. There are areas in the city where artists can tag. I've also started to see repeated tags of different crews. I would love to talk to them and find out more about the actual process from experience. Good luck with the challenge!

  3. Yes! I appreciate graffiti, too. I agree that it would be an interesting experiment if we made more art - of any sort - to display in our home spaces. I'm sure it would enable us to be more open and expressive with each other.

  4. Remember... graffiti is the continuation of the most ancient art form known to man... writing and telling stories on cave walls.

  5. What a fascinating thought. I will look at graffiti with new eyes.
    Come by and visit.

  6. Fantastic post. I love graffiti, as long as it's not tagging. These people are often very talented artists.