Yesterday I noted with dismay that it had taken fewer than 12 hours for my pal Chank’s newest mural to be defaced by taggers.
Tagging is pathetic. The ultimate form of mindless self-involvement, it consists simply of painting one’s name or initials ad nauseam on the sides of trains and buildings. Tagging litters our urban landscapes with the vapid scrawls of a six-year-old.
But then there’s a different kind of graffiti …
Tonight I had the pleasure of watching Exit Through the Gift Shop, the quirky documentary about a man who can’t stop filming everything he sees—and the urban artists who are equally compelled to express themselves on empty walls and billboards.
I had several “I know that guy!” moments during the film. I’ve seen Shepard Fairey’s “Obey” work in at least a couple of cities.
… but I didn’t know that he was the mind behind the now-iconic Obama posters.
I also immediately recognized the work of Invader. I’ve seen his mosaics first-hand all over Paris.
By the end of the film, I found myself sympathizing with the urban artists who risk arrest and imprisonment to make the rest of us stop, look, laugh and think.
What do YOU think? Is there a place where graffiti intersects with art? Take a peek at some of the street art that has most caught my eye, and drop me a note.
Still with me?! I commend your perseverance! To thank you, I’ve saved the best for last.
I was a bit irate when the man in the photo below walked into the frame just as I was depressing the shutter button. But when I got home I realized I’d captured a “happy accident:” I just love the way the umbrella seems to be resting against the man’s shoulder, and how the little bunny looks like it’s catching a ride on his coattails.
So … what do you think? Does some graffiti qualify as art?