Graffiti is a kind word for artistic vandalism. And I love it. I don’t exactly know why, but I’ve always loved graffiti (well-done graffiti, that is). Hmm. Now I’m curious.
I’m attracted to rebellion.
I’m attracted to people and ideas that buck convention (so long as there’s logic behind it).
I’m attracted to art, especially avant-garde, industrial and/or urban art. Something about people making urban spaces their own, adding art and flavor and sometimes critical social commentary…I’m drawn to it. Statement pieces are my favorite.
I have a love/hate relationship with cities. There’s a strange, unnatural beauty to modern cities: the way so many people are gathered and crammed into tight living spaces. Shoulder to shoulder they walk the sidewalks and street crossings. And yet, they’re anonymous. You can walk through a throng of people, and no one even notices you. You’re just another unit of humanity in a faceless, nameless sea. There’s so much cultural variety, it’s thrilling and enriching. But it’s so fucking impersonal. Hence the love/hate. It’s unnatural.
I have a certain appreciation for beautifully done architecture, though I (mostly) disdain purely functional forms. Give me some flavor. Allow me to see the artistry of the architect’s vision. And if you give me bland, industrial, utilitarian space?
Graffiti the shit out of it. Somehow, someway, I want to see the art of humanity shining through the bleak, gray spaces. If we’re going to “pave paradise,” shouldn’t we make it our own?
My favorite graffiti that I’ve seen has been that found on trains, on the side of horribly mundane industrial, horribly inhuman (yet all too human) facilities, bridges, canals, etc. I love the resistance it shows, people fighting back against the bleak, faceless commodification of humanity.
That said, you know what I hate? I fucking hate this shit:
See what it says? I found this at the park today. Someone carved “Homecoming?” into a tree. Someone later came behind and carved a response, “NO.” I was so fucking angry when I saw this. This is nature. Look at the word “nature.” NATURAL. Industry is unnatural – and I’m okay with bringing humanity into it. And it can be painted over. Urban art can be painted over. This? This tree is damaged for good. There’s no undoing this.
Heh. And it only got worse from there.
This entire tree was covered from the ground to about seven feet. I was livid. And then, I was so so sad. The people who damage trees in this way are the ones who have so little respect that they’re threatening future generations’ access to our national parks. They’re the people who break through the travertine crust in Yellowstone or approach bison to take selfies. Entitled fucking morons who have zero respect for this beautiful earth we get to call home.
Grab your cans of spray paint and beautify and personalize a train or the underside of a bridge. But we must be better stewards of our planet.
Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow morning and flip that tree off. Yeah. That’ll show ’em.