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GRAFFITI FOR DUMMIES
(An "Intro" for those interested in the "Art" and the "Controversy" behind Graffiti)


         Perhaps one of the most extraneous and arcane forms of Night Entertainment is that of graffiti .   Often illegal, frequently artistic, occasionally humorous, and most of the time controversial.   Graffiti is not a form of 'entertainment' that all will enjoy.   Many see it as vandalism - plain and simple, while others see it as an art form, or 'art brut' - a street sub-set of Modern Art.

         The "Graffiti Artist" as hyped in Hollywood film is the lone-wolf who steals into the night dressed in camo, wearing butyl-soled rock-climbing shoes with cans of spraypaint strapped to his torso - someone who, from all outward appearances, could easily be mistaken for a suicide bomber on a skateboard.   By the light of a full moon he works feverishly throughout the night, trying to finish his graphic social protest before he is seen by pry-eyed up-tight neighbors, or a passing squad car, or the first light of dawn, whichever comes first.   In one Hollywood film a graffiti writer was lowered off a bridge by his feet to create a spectacular and very irritating (to the police) work-of-art while suspended upside-down.   The reality, however, is much more mundane than that, as may be seen in Banksey's award winning film, 'Exit Through The Gift Shop'.   <link>

         Nevertheless, even with the shattering of the 'mystique' of the graffiti writer , as graffiti becomes more mainstream (appearing in renown galleries, and auctioned at famous auction houses), the works produced are not diminished in any way - colorful, twisted, irreverent, vulgar, disturbing, esoteric, thought-provoking, often strikingly beautiful in their own weird way, and almost always original.   

         The artist gets off on accomplishing the works.   The viewer either gets off on enjoying the work, or is offended by it.   Either of which pleases the artist.   If you are one of those who enjoys such, this column is for you.

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