The Graffiti Art Culture
It is unusual how things catch one’s eye, especially as a train speeds from one destination to another. That is when, in England recently, I decided to make pictures of the “graffiti paintings” spray-painted on buildings, railway tunnels, box cars and in unusual places.
Graffiti painting is nothing new. I found out from my research that London was experiencing it in the early 60’s. For years there has been a graffiti art wars going on. The most famous was between Banksy and Robbo. in England. In fact, the art that had called for prison sentences has many years later become museum pieces and fetch high prices.
What were these painters trying to say through their art? First, the adventure of it may have been the first step toward lashing out against civil authority. A writer of Hiphop History had this to say . “The phenomenon, which we can
observe all over the world, in colloquial speech, is called GRAFFITI. The
beginning of this occurrence was taken place in New York on the turn of 60’s and
70’s. Since people from whole world have seen the first water resistant markers
(called flow-masters), young people have been starting to write their own names
or nicknames on the walls of buildings, postboxes, phone boxes, underground
passages, and in the end on the subway.”
Was it an effort to be seen even if they could never be heard? Was it pent-up creativity or rebellion? The answer to these questions may vary from spray-can to spray-can. The writer goes on to say: ” In the same time young people worked very hard to create their own diverse styles. …The graphics’ compositions that were made with letters weren’t intelligible any longer. So this new technique created an innovative style called ‘Wild Style’. Subsequently, the background elements of graffiti were made and the new artists
quickly adopted them to their own styles. However almost everybody
remembered about people who have experimented with sprays paints on the subway.”
All of this was most disturbing to the status quo and cost the tax payer millions in clean-up, which would eventually give way to a type of resignation.
“During this whole time the creations of thousands of writers cost MTA
hundreds millions of dollars. Generally speaking, between 1970-1980 The MTA had
to spend about 100-150 millions of dollars to remove graffiti or to build
securities systems etc. These amounts of money were spent, most of the times, for
unsuccessful tests of removing graffiti’s. For example, the cost of
removing one quadrate meter is about $750 and one whole car is about $78, 000 .“
High, security fences were put up in large cities, but to no avail. The battle was not only between the police and the offenders, but also between the artist and writers themselves. Some had goals to change things in their area of the world.
“In 1978 a writer Lee Quinones ,well-known as Lee, started to change his neighborhood. He changed the grimy place near Brooklyn Bridge into a spectacular and incredible famous gallery of graffiti. He painted almost every night the walls next to a baseball fields. Some people thought that it was an essential split in where one would paint the graffiti. The writers started to paint the walls not a subway.”
Like anything that becomes out-of-sink with society, it becomes the “rage”. Someone…somewhere will be looking to see how money can be made regardless of what society deems “outrageous”.
“The first trains were painted in Wien, Dusseldorf, Munich, Copenhagen, Paris,
London and Sydney but very seldom was this kind of arts appreciated by the more
conservative people…. In 1983 Yaki Kornblit, a tradesman of artwork from Amsterdam, came to New York and looked for the most talented graffiti writers. He wanted to present that kind of arts to the European market as art works. He thought, however, that it would be 20 years before the Pop -Art would be successfully promoted in Europe.”
He may be surprised that in 2013, graffiti writers from around the world, find this great fun and even bring dogs and children to their painting areas. No more running from the police as much as before, unless it is a restricted areas or private properties. Some towns have walls set aside for artists to use for their drawings. I will have to admit that even though I prefer seeing things clean and neat around buildings, that at times the Graffiti Art Culture has made a statement of amazing beauty. Our video below may help one understand that statement.