The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'graffiti'
New York is facing an onslaught of middle-aged subway taggers; latchkey kids from the 1970s and 1980s who never put graffiti vandalism behind them, or else who decided to recapture their lost youth, spurred on by one thing or another to pick up their spraycans and get back into the game:
In torn jeans and saddled with a black backpack, Andrew Witten glances up and down the street for police. The 51-year-old then whips out a black marker scribbles "Zephyr" on a wall covered with movie posters. He admires his work for a few seconds before his tattooed arms reach for his daughter, holding her hand as he briskly walks away.
Witten's brush with fame now often comes with his freelance art writing and his sporadic visits to his daughter's school, where he teaches her classmates how to draw. Lulu knows her father draws "crazy art," a term she picked up from seeing graffiti on trains.
For decades, Ortiz, 45, has been known on Manhattan's Lower East Side as LA II. A traumatic loss of a girlfriend brought him out of a 14-year hiatus from graffiti writing. He has since been caught three times spraying his tag on property, each time while walking a friend's dog. "Everywhere that dog stopped to pee I would write my name," Ortiz says. "The streets were like my canvases. I just started writing my name everywhere."Alternatively, it could be argued that he and his dog bonded by participating in territory-marking activities together.
The question of tagging versus graffiti art came up at the trial of London tagger Daniel "Tox" Halpin, whose handiwork will be immediately familiar to many Tube commuters:
The 26-year-old, from Camden, north London, whose masked image and story of anarchism has featured on television documentaries and in magazines, was found guilty of a string of graffiti attacks across England after prosecutor Hugo Lodge told a jury: "He is no Banksy. He doesn't have the artistic skills, so he has to get his tag up as much as possible."
As he was remanded in custody for sentencing, his artistic merit was further questioned by the reformed guerilla graffiti artist turned establishment darling Ben "Eine" Flynn, whose work was presented to the US president, Barack Obama, by the prime minister, David Cameron, last year. "His statement is Tox, Tox, Tox, Tox, over and over again," said Flynn after the trial at Blackfriars crown court, in which he gave evidence as an expert witness. In his opinion, the Tox "tags" or signatures, and "dubs" (the larger, often bubble lettering) were "incredibly basic" and lacking "skill, flair or unique style".While Mr. Tox is not known for his artistic flair, that didn't stop him interrupting his criminal damage career top attempt to surf the post-Banksy hype boom, hoping that someone with more money than sense would interpret his tagging as a particularly "edgy", "real, innit" and "well fucking morocco, yeah?" form of street art and buy it on canvas:
Cashing in on his notoriety, he is said to have made £9,000 in two hours by selling pictures with his Tox tag. Reports in 2009 that he was selling 100 canvasses bearing his notorious mark, at £75 each, precipitated heated debate. Purists condemned him for "selling out", while legal experts mused over whether a loophole made him impervious to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The appearance of Tox's tag in gilt-framed canvasses was "well funny", Flynn said, adding: "Art is worth what people are prepared to pay for it." People must have bought them as an investment, he added. "I can't imagine they bought them because they actually like them."Halpin's co-defendants include a students of ultra-hip art school Goldsmiths and an Edinburgh Collge of Art graduate; his own credentials are not on record. Halpin and two defendants await sentencing.
Shepard Fairey, the street artist who created the iconic Barack Obama "Hope" poster, has been arrested in Boston for graffiti he allegedly put up many years ago, on the way to his first solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Break the law here, the message seems to be, and, sooner or later, the law will get you, regardless of your stature.
I wonder if he can get a Presidential pardon.
Somebody has been going around the London Underground with specially printed transparency stickers, adding a station named "Brown Punk" to the Hammersmith & City line:
And then there's the graffiti all over town, reading "Alphabet of Brooke Shields" or its variations.
While London's transport system shut down for Christmas, gangs of graffitiists made their way into the tunnels and spray-painted Camden Town tube station. Unfortunately, we're not talking about Banksy-esque acts of carefully measured artistic subversion here, but just tagging and covering as much space with big ugly letters as possible. (Bonus points for obliterating information boards; those commuters unable to see where their train is going from will be deeply aware that they are your bitch and You Da Man. Wanker.) Anyway, there are pictures here and here).
Meanwhile, someone else stole into Brixton tube station and did their own bit of redecorating; they seem to have been somewhat less destructive and more concerned with actual aesthetics, rather than just pissing all over everything; photos here and here.
In response to the Melbourne City Council's vandalism policy (interpret that how you will), a coalition of troublemakers has convened the Melbourne Graffiti Games:
In response to this, and the Victorian Governments decision to waste $1 million dollars of tax-payers money in setting up an anti-graffiti taskforce, GGOC have announced the commencement of the 2006 Graffiti Games. During the Graffiti Games, which begin next week and end in April 2006, the entire Central Business District has been declared a maximum tolerance zone open to street art of all forms.Unlike the elitist Commonwealth Games the Graffiti Games will be open to anyone with a spray-can and a good or bad idea. The entire population of Victoria, as well as interstate and international visitors, are encouraged to compete. Although all who take part, and the public at large, will be winners in this tournament the Graffiti Games Organising Committee will also be awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to the most popular entrants in various categories.
These will include -This is a classically Australian response to heavy-handed authority, and anyone who says otherwise needs to read a copy of How To Make Trouble And Influence People.
- Most Elaborate Stencil Piece
- Funniest Slogan
- Largest Graffiti Piece
- Most Daring Placement
- Best Caricature of the Mayor or other City Of Melbourne Councillor
- Most Seditious Piece
(via "mike p")
The Melbourne City Council has declared war on the city's status as a stencil-art capital with their new zero-tolerance graffiti plan. Under the plan, building owners will be legally obliged to either remove graffiti (which includes aerosol art or stencil art) or put in applications for each individual piece to remain. And so, the city becomes a little more like Singapore or Giuliani's New York.
A video game simulating being a graffiti artist is in the works. Titled Getting Up, it was developed with the involvement of hip-hop streetwear mogul Mark Ecko and various veteran graffitiists and urban artists (including Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant fame). (I wonder whether Banksy approved of the rat-shaped stencil that's visible in the Flash site.) It's said to be an accurate simulation of the activity of tagging/doing pieces and avoiding the police, and has a story line about an evil, megalomanic mayor (which sounds like Turk 182 meets Rudy Giuliani). No word on when it's coming out or what platforms on.
It looks like the OXO OVO graffiti may have made it to London:
Then again, there aren't any cryptic slogans about literacy, religion or what have you, so it could be fake.
Jamaican underground photojournalist types unmask Banksy, and take him to task for being a hypocritical wanker. Let the flaming begin. (via MeFi)
The next trend in graffiti, after aerosol art, stencil art and pasted-on designs, involves selectively cleaning grimy walls. It's much like stencil art, only rather than applying aerosol paint, the artist uses solvent and scrubs a shaped area of the wall clean, creating a distinct image. And, led by the apparent legality of cleaning public surfaces, guerilla advertisers are getting onboard; some chap in Leeds named "Moose" has been commissioned by Diageo to advertise Smirnoff vodka in this fashion. The Leeds City Council, however, doesn't quite see it that way.
Sunday Photo Feature #03: decoration on traffic-light control boxes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, 2003:
Meet Hektor, a Swiss-designed spraycan graffiti robot, or possibly one of the world's largest portable inkjet printers. (Note that it's not the largest, as the BBC piece suggests; I recall a larger version of GraffitiWriter, one of Hektor's predecessors, mounted on the underside of a van, and used to inscribe dot-matrix slogans on roads.)
This is nifty: Random Movement Printing Technology. A printer the size of a mobile phone, which you can download images/data to, and then use it to print on any piece of paper (or other printable surface) by rubbing the printer over it. The printer tracks its movement and rotation and prints the appropriate parts of the image as it moves.
I'm now thinking that if someone were to fit these with indelible paint nozzles, they could use them as an urban graffiti tool, sort of like a more high-tech analogue of stencil art. The street finds its own uses for things and all that.
Authorities in California are testing a new high-tech solution for catching graffitiists: a network of sensors which detect the sound of aerosol cans and notify police, giving GPS coordinates. A worthy application of space-age technology to tackling contemporary urban blight, or a racist/classist attack on hip-hop culture/people's art, aimed at depriving urban minorities of non-corporate means of communications? Discuss. (via NWD)
Spain's graffiti commandos are what Melbourne's homies (and indeed Prahran's logo-T-shirt set) can only dream of being:
They film their creations and sell the footage to specialist distributors for internet music magazines, or the city's avant garde pubs. Split-second timing is the key. One member of the "commando" - which can number up to 20 - travels on the train. At a given moment and place, he pulls the emergency cord and the train stops. The artists leap into action and - crucial to the financial success of the operation- film themselves in front of their creation before escaping.
Soup, Cos' new community blog storytelling project, has an entry on overpasses as community noticeboards; i.e., the tendency for people to write birthday wishes, declarations of love, &c., on bridges and overpasses.
Many years ago, there was a graffito over Burwood Highway (I think it was on one of the Alamein line railway bridges), reading "I'LL ALWAYS MISS YOU EILEEN &heart; SD". I saw it many times when being driven to school, and imagined a tearful SD writing that before jumping to his death below. It occurred to me later that the bridge was nowhere near high enough to reliably commit suicide from, by when my mental image of SD was revised to lying with a broken leg in the middle of Burwood Highway at 3am, a bucket of paint spilled beside him, the pain distracting him from his broken heart, and the alcohol taking some of the edge off the pain.
One day I saw a piece in a community paper (I think it was out Ferntree Gully way), by a journalist who tracked down the real SD, who wrote his famous message one drunken night after Eileen left him, a decade or so earlier. Since then he had married another girl, bought a house in Boronia or Upwey or some place, and become a father. Every day he would commute to work down Burwood Highway and see his younger self's testament of undying love; sometimes, he said, he wanted to climb the bridge and paint over the silly thing once and for all.
Selected graffiti found in the gents' toilets, Town Hall Hotel:
LIVING IN A NATION WHERE
THOUGHT IS CONTRABAND
MY ILLNESS IS MY TREATMENT
Q: What is E.T. short for?
A: He's just got really small legs.