Christchurch, New Zealand

 

global graffiti

the revolutionary, the random & the frivolous

Graffiti. An annoyance? An urban blight? A political expression through artistic techniques on a publicly accessible canvas? Probably all of these interpretations are true and, having seen so much graffiti on my travels, some of it humorous, some of it evocative, some of it esoteric and some of it shocking, I thought it would be interesting to assemble a selection of these in one place for you to make up your own mind. 

To dismiss graffiti as simple vandalism is to belie its complexity; graffiti is not painted in a vacuum. It depends on who is doing the graffiti, where they are doing it, why they are doing it and, to a superficial extent, how good they are doing it, too. Countries in transition and upheaval generally generate more graffiti - other countries have virtually none. Former eastern bloc countries have tonnes of the stuff because under communism graffiti, and littering for that matter, were strictly prohibited and punishment for offenders was brutal. State forces were hell bent on making people good 'citizens'. With the Iron Curtain a fading memory, to graffiti (verb) is to express oneself freely. This also goes some way to explaining why many of these countries also have a litter problem. To litter is an expression of freedom, too. Undoubtedly some graffiti is idle and destructive, but much of that which I have seen is far removed from the pointless tagging stuff that blights urban centres. In many cases graffiti is a complicated expression of, or even for, freedom and a call to arms for a better world. Some conjure interesting juxtapositions and others are purely incongruous which perplexingly, in itself, makes them interesting.

 
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