A controversial practise, an awe-inspiring form of expression, a radical form of activism, and for those of you who don’t know: it can also be an extremely fulfilling but dangerous culture and lifestyle for those involved. Graffiti is free art, accessible to anyone who walks the streets. It’s not confined to the walls of museum. Anyone who thinks that graffiti is about destruction and vandalism should swap perspectives and envisage the beauty, time, effort and creation that goes into street art. As with musicians, writers, poets, mc’s, graffiti is a form of expression and creation where the artist can input and express thoughts, emotion, energy and allow it to manifest in the external world as a physical object.
GET IN THE KNOW
Bomb it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7tdY49nTaI
Kings and Toys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z871Y3DrI8
Style Wars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMsu2GHlLh0
I met an extremely intelligent and talented, London based street artist who goes by the tag of FREEGAZA, with some very honourable motives and a shed load of talent. Everyone should read and be enlightened by his opinion:
‘Many people relate graffiti to vandalism; they relate graffiti to neglect, to a forced imposition of a person’s ideals and values onto someone else’s property. For me personally graffiti is a form of escape, it is a form of freedom, it’s a way for me get my voice heard without having to rely on anyone else, without being censored or edited.
I write ‘FREE GAZA’. Gaza represents the Gaza Strip in Palestine which is being oppressed by Israel’s apartheid regime. FREE GAZA is a message against global oppression, although it is just one place, to me it is representative of all oppressed places, we as human beings need to unite against global tyranny, we need to make a stand in the world we live in.
Although it is just writing on a wall, FREE GAZA serves as a reminder, it attempts to physically highlight the issue in big colourful letters, it is my attempt to bring attention to the world that we live in.
Graffiti is a form of expression I don’t have the money to pay some company to broadcast my viewpoint. I’m not trying to sell a product or a lifestyle, to profiteer from my subconscious exploitation of the masses. My voice is just as valuable as everyone else’s and my opinion is just as valid. I personally don’t paint individuals personal property, I wouldn’t ever consider painting some ones home or a church or a mosque. But for the purposes of being an effective medium I completely understand why an individual would choose to paint trains or buses or corporate or public property.
I personally would rather tax payers money is spent cleaning paint off walls and putting money back into this society through communal and social projects rather than buying bombs to fuel this country’s political and economic agendas.
Everywhere we walk within this society we are bombarded with adverts and images, the majority of them are designed to influence the way we think, to sell us a product or lifestyle. Billboards are erected, often illegally by companies but because they have complex legal teams they are able to tie up the courts.
In my mind there is no external difference between a corporation putting up a poster or series of images in a public place, and an individual painting something onto a wall. What is the difference between the two? A company pays large amounts of money to erect an advert; I would suggest 99% of the time it is with the intention of marketing a product/lifestyle in order to make a profit. A graffiti writer goes through a large amount of risk in order to get his point across.
Is a human beings value, their view point, their ability to express them self defined by their material worth?
Because a company can afford to pay large sums of money does that make their statement more important than any one else’s?
Our cities are so grey, all the buildings are un-naturally straight and lifeless. For me personally seeing a burst of colour of raw emotion on this grey canvas is beautiful, alhamdulillah.
For me each tag tells a story. You can see the physical movement he has had to make depending on the placement of the tag, but also the word he chooses to represent himself (his alter-ego). You can see the shape of the letters he uses, which is a reflection of that individuals own background and environment.’