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Monday, December 13, 2010

Street Graffiti in The Studio?

My drawing-of-the-day is my new header.

Waiting on the laundry, I was researching graffiti for my next post on the
Most Boring Art Blog,and I got side tracked in between the towels and the delicates. I played around again in Paint. This one came out better than my first attempt (see Most Boring)--but I was disappointed. My fill tool didn't work and the spray can was less than impressive. I kept consulting "Help" for help, but it was helpless. I'm thinking the program needs to be updated.

Graffiti has always fascinated me. --Street graffiti--the wall graphics that are considered to be vandalism because they're done with lowly spray paint and without permission.

Driving down the expressway into the city as an art student, there were a number of overpasses covered with the stuff. I loved the colors--how they looked on the rough concrete. How they looked in the early morning hours going to school versus late afternoon on my return trip. I never thought they were unsightly. I thought they were the random graphic assertions of individual identities. I thought they were journalistic. I thought they were beautiful. And most amazingly, they looked coordinated--like all the different folks who had defaced the wall at different times had gotten together and planned their additions. Of course, I was making assumptions. For all I knew, just one arty kid was spray painting his presence in the world in the darkness of night while his buddy held the flashlight and watched out for the cops. But it didn't matter, what stuck in my head all these years is the idea--journalistic art sharing a common ground and executed spontaneously whenever moved to do so. I always wanted to try painting like that on a large heavily plaster coated canvas. I haven't done it yet, but this is my year of exploring my artistic voice, whatever that may be, so why not? --Such a work may be more interesting to do than separate drawings done daily?

(The Graffiti wall pictured is from Southwest Detroit. It's the closest example I could find of the illegal, unsupervised, unsanctioned variety.
Since I drove under those overpasses to art school forty plus years ago, Graffiti has been accepted as an art form and organized. Now community centers give kids, drawing pads and spray cans of paint and encourage their planned creativity on the streets).


  1. Dear Linda,

    Ahahaha, your first paragraph tickled me so much. Thank you.
    I, too, "seriously" appreciate graffiti and passionately love them. (*Well, a bit shame, English imported that word from Italian!)

    Like you, I looked up graffiti from a train to/from uni with awe. In my eyes, energy and artistic sense were superb. But I wondered when and how those street artists made them all at such dangerous places?? Acrobat, indeed.

    Regarding the size of work, I have the same feeling like you. Linda, when I feel like drawing on a huge wall, I know, I'm high. Before my feelings are gone, I get on work!
    In addition, nowadays, portraits for famous competitions are really big and like walls. Watercolorists, it's a challenging. But I've decided to go my own way. "Small is powerful and sexy," is my answer;). Hope your work goes smoothly.
    Kind regards, Sadami

  2. Dear Sadami,

    An expressway overpass is big--too big and too dangerous for me. I've wondered too how the graffiti kids managed to cover the whole thing. Amazing. I like this illegal graffiti because of it's social significance--the urge of ordinary people to leave their mark where everyone can see--to assert their presence on the planet--to assert their importance.