Friday, May 04, 2012

marking my space

One additional note about Cartagena.  I saw more graffiti on its walls than I have seen anywhere.  With the possible exception of Mexico City.

Some obviously sanctioned.  Some free-lance.  Some that could fall into either camp.  In the latter category is the first set  I encountered -- illustrated at the top of this post.  A pair of jaunty Rubik's cubes.

I know we bloggers have kicked around the notion whether graffiti can be art.  I think it can -- even when it verges on vandalism.

For instance, this.  It is pure mindless ego-tagging.

The largest example I saw is painted on the back of a multi-story building.  It meets all of the formalistic expectations of art.  Not to mention its wit.

This is a detail.  Where the graffiti has become the victim of a little political graffiti.  Either that, or the pigeon is a German adviser left over from the Civil War.

The painting would obviously qualify as a mural.  And it was probably my favorite of the lot.  Even though this piece painted near the Roman theater had its own historic appeal.

Some were quite complex.

Others were whimsically simple.

Or even simpler.

Some attempted to complement the architecture -- not too successfully.  Even thiough, I had to wonder about the artist's acrobatic abilities.

Others worked better, creating their own eerie commentary on the wall where it was painted.

But not as well as this piece that appears to be one with the staircase.

And then there is the artist who seems to have an inherent sense for rhyming shapes and colors with his work.

This would have been a good post for a poll.  But internet time is precious at the moment.

However, I would appreciate your comments on graffiti in general.  Or these pieces, in particular.


Rick said...

Nice post Steve -
There seems to be a deep need for youth to express themselves with spray paint. Not sure why but at least some is done artistically. When you go to countries with no graffiti it's a bit scary knowing how severe the punishment must be and not just for spray painting.

Mike said...

I think it's art, but I get the same feeling when I see graffiti as I do when I see a heavily tattooed person.  Ugh! How could they do that?

Andean said...

Though some of the "pieces" might demonstrate creative talent, others, not so much, it is still defacing...

norm said...

I have a house that is urban, it has been tagged by the local gang bangers. I kept extra paint when I painted the house when I bought it, I painted over the "art work" as soon as I noticed it and it has not been repeated. I like to check out the stuff on the train cars, some of it is interesting. People have been defacing buildings from the caveman days, it is part of our nature as humans, to make a big fuss about it falls into that spitting into the wind concept. Maybe a fine if caught but jail, no, to harsh for something that is part of our nature.   

Steve Cotton said...

Some of the pieces are not very good. And most of them are in the "without permission" camp. But some of the more absolute pieces are obviously done with at least tacit permission.

Kim G said...

I think people worry far too much about things like graffiti and far too little about things like how many people are rotting in prison for things that really shouldn't be "crimes" at all, or worrying about what life will be like in the "first world" when all the governments go bankrupt at once.

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we think graffiti is a fine addition to decrepit urban buildings everywhere.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

Grafitti is not paid for or solicited.  Then money is paid to remove it.  Murals, of which you have shown several, are usually presented for approval by the appropriate individuals (sometimes a jury of artists) and then the installer is paid - big bucks.  Big difference.
Enjoyed the post.

Steve Cotton said...

 Nice metaphor.

Steve Cotton said...

 I guess it is no surprise that we libertarians agree on the concept of using someone else's property without their permission.  That is theft.  Just like taxation.  But that is another story.

Steve Cotton said...

 I suspect some of the pieces were done with permission.

Steve Cotton said...

 I have had the same problem with my garage in Salem.  It is irritating, but it does not rise very high on my list of concerns.

Steve Cotton said...

 I will meet you later at the libertarian shindig.

Steve Cotton said...

It was hard to tell if some of the smaller pieces were done with permission.  But I must confess a few were quite good.

DebiinMerida said...

You know my thought already - I like graffiti, don't like tagging!
The pieces you photo'd show great artistic talent, and I think they add to the environment.  I loved them!

Steve Cotton said...

 Good point.  But some of the pieces were hard to pinpoint on the property issue.  Either way, I really liked a couple of them.

Steve Cotton said...

Some of them are quite good.