Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Graffiti is art - not a crime

A few weeks ago syndicated Columnist Mark McCormick ("Wichita is no place for graffiti," June 2) wrote a column devoted to attacking graffiti as form of vandalism and denied people’s right express themselves on public building.
It’s not surprising the people living around here want graffiti artists treated as criminals. Wichita is a very repressive place to live and many freedoms of expression are discouraged.
I doubt if that makes Wichita unique. I’m sure many cities are like that. But many countries aren’t Graffiti is an art form that goes back over a thousand years. And as today, it often follows discontent with the society it is written in.
There are times and types of graffiti that look trashy or have nothing interesting or new to say. It can look bad. But some is quite colorful and creative. I used to look out my front door to see a field of Kansas wildflowers and some trees, all forms of rural nature. Now I look out and see a white brick wall, surrounding double-decker homes, all the same shape, and the colors which range from gray to some variation of tan. There seems to be a push to conformity, uniformity and banality. And McCormick thinks I should be upset about graffiti as both a crime and sign of urban decay. What about the decay of nature?
A recent letter to the editor, from a name I never recognized, said she was an artist and since she knows art, she can label graffiti as vandalism. Yea! Like most people living in this area would know a real piece of art if it came down and bit them in the ass.

I’ve been to other countries and they take a different view of graffiti. Some of it is political, some quite elaborate and pleasing. But here, banality and conformity to our society is the norm.

This picture is from art-crime.


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