Writing On The Walls Of Public Property: Part 1 – Art

Often, artists seek to represent in their art, often satirically representing modern life as absurd, with the demand for improvement. It is a backlash against the dank grey walls society seems to prefer, but can give no honest justification for. Do we really prefer things to be so neat and orderly that we are unable to distinguish wall by wall- walls that constantly coat our vision? We choose what to look at in our private time- the words we read, the films we watch, the people we see such beauty in, so why should it be that we let our public life be dominated by nothingness? Graffiti tags are people, who look over the city and make it what it is. The tags are the cracks in a non-perfect world, that allow the space for the cities to breathe.

In terms of representational art then perhaps it would be better to judge case by case within graffiti rather than generalise because often artists are seen to represent modern life satirically in their art while also distorting our representations, perhaps enhancing our view of life, so the mirror that art acts as may actually reflect a brighter world filled with greater possibility. The colours and shapes created in a throw-up often exceed what we think the human imagination is capable of, and often- what the artist thinks that they are capable of. The colours that have been lost in our dreams, but are distantly felt in our child-like sense of wonder.

The mirror that art acts as may actually reflect a brighter world filled with greater possibilityWe often connect with street art because it regularly reflects our lives and how we secretly feel but daren’t tell anybody, because what does conversation consist of in modern-day society other than a brief exchange of meaningless comments passed between people who long to tell the world of their deepest beliefs and fears, but have grown accustomed to etiquette and sensibility.

An artist may create a work of art to inform. Either about something that they are going through personally and wish to share, so that we can learn informally of an experience or a historical event, (such as Picasso’s Guernica which gives a direct account of the artists view on the Spanish Civil War) or it may hold religious connotations (such as the Buddhist Wheel of Life which informs us of The Four Truths: the existence of suffering on earth, the origin and cause of the suffering, the ending of the suffering and the path once must take to liberation from suffering). Therefore, informative art is often produced not for self-interested purposes but for the purpose of teaching. This does not mean that the teaching has to be educationally beneficial to the observer of the art- it may inform them of something they wish they did not know, out of fear or conscious failure to recognise their selves in the art. George Orwell wrote ‘If liberty means anything at all it means telling them what they do not want to hear’.

Graffiti art differs from other various types of informative art in that it communicates to you directly; it does not politely avoid the subject as a means of artistic endeavour. It is wholly demanding of your attention in the very moment you are exposed to it, and what you learn from it may even be that you despise graffiti more than you already thought you could – or you may learn that somebody has felt the need to communicate something, and risks being caught by the law to tell you. And while some may see it more appropriate to communicate something through the mendacity of language, in the form of which we use it day-to-day with less extreme courses taken to communicate- many would feel as though art manages to communicate beyond what we are able to speak. It may be done for your benefit and it likewise it may be done for the benefit for the artist, for them to learn something of themselves or to organise and work something out that they feel can’t be done in any other way.

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