Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Graffitable Building Complex

So graffiti isn't simple vandalism.
  [vote for,

I live in New York-- a city crawling with graffiti. I think graffiti is wonderful, frankly. But tagging is growing more popular here, and that, to me, is only a small step aboveurinating border lines to mark territory. Sometimes, people tag a place to show they could do it in a challenging spot, like a billboard-- but usually, they tag to claim land. I think a building complex should be built that allows, nay, encourages people to graffiti on it. Upon the building's construction, graffolding could be established-- not standard construction type, a safer and sturdier form-- by which people could write or draw on these buildings. After a good span of time-- three months, perhaps? These scaffolds culd be removed. I hesitate to suggest that those who draw offensive images or statements be reprimanded, but I doubt if art should be censored.
watermelancholy, Jul 26 2002

warchalking article http://www.wired.co...,1282,53638,00.html
Wired Mag [thumbwax, Jul 27 2002]

warchalking.org http://www.warchalking.org/
Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking. [thumbwax, Jul 27 2002]

Doonesbury http://wireless.mostlyharmless.dk/
should warchalking be considered offensive? [thumbwax, Jul 27 2002]

Obey http://www.gallerya...03.00_A.D./Obey.gif
All over L.A. [thumbwax, Jul 27 2002]

The Graffiti Wall in Regina http://www.angelfir...regina/wascanawall/
[angel, Jul 29 2002]

A message for UnaBubba http://www.ex-fed.com/trueart.html
...legal or not. :P [iuvare, Jul 29 2002]

Crips and Bloods http://www.nagia.org/Crips_and_Bloods.htm
African-American Street Gangs in Los Angeles - article [thumbwax, Jul 29 2002]

Gang Graffiti http://www.streetgangs.com/graffiti/
Author is quite devoted to subject of gangs [thumbwax, Jul 29 2002]


       Hmmm. I'd rather there wasn't free access to the scaffold. If graffitists (is that a word?) want to make use of the space provided, they should need to show photographs of their previous work to the body that funds this. Provided the work is of a high enough standard -- not mere tagging, which is mince -- then they should be provided with paints and an area of wall.   

       I'd prefer that this idea be implemented in an area where the architecture is blank and austere rather than one where the architecture is warmer and more detailed.
calum, Jul 26 2002

       Perhaps if this was a goodwill project, funded by a philanthropist with a taste for the arts, what you said would become true. I see that as being a different idea in premise-- you're looking for more conventional art, whereas I see graffiti -- any graffiti -- art unto itself.
watermelancholy, Jul 26 2002

       water, I rather suppose I _am_ looking for conventional art albeit displayed in a different manner. The problem is, there's good graffiti and there's bad graffiti. I'm not particularly enamoured with witless doodlings of bloodshot-eyed people smoking comically large joints, and I don't think any funding body would like it either. The whole thing would just look better if it was done by graffitists with talent and (possibly) something to say.
I do like this idea very much; I'm imagining a huge high-rise/skyscraper covered in a patchwork of multicoloured graffiti.

       bliss, the people that paint them, I think. In my experience of murals (which is limited) they are either painted by professional artists who have been given a commission by the council or by schoolchildren as a means to brighten up their playparks.
calum, Jul 26 2002

       Because these don't have to be murals. And they'd cover the building. Thanks.
watermelancholy, Jul 26 2002

       I consider a mural to be a coherent painting. Graffiti are odd bits.
watermelancholy, Jul 26 2002

       what in holy hell is warchalking?
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       See links. Venice, CA is notorious for it's freestyling graffiti artists - many a building there, and throughout L.A. - particularly on Melrose between Highland and Fairfax - has every inch covered in magnificent graffiti. What I'm seeing more of is the "Obey" sign in numerous places - such as (unfortunately closed) Johnny's at Wilshire and Fairfax, on Museum row. along with some fresh sidewalk one word commentaries throughout Hollywood's Walk of Fame district using celebrities last names stenciled *just so* to act as an iconic anti-icon message - sort of turning Ed Ruscha's famous "Word as Icon" into social/political commentary for pedestrians. Haven't seen much of the Rage Against The Machine Art lately - he's selective, preferring to be shown in the shadows of more pretentious high-brow locations where pseudo-commentary and free wine flow.
thumbwax, Jul 27 2002

       What visual pollution issues?
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       But... that isn't a problem here.
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       Graffiti is how gangs communicate with one another, marking their territory with tags and showing other members where the next crimes should occur through a series of cryptic symbols and phrases. It's also how gangs talk to one another so that no one understands... how they intimidate rivals and regular folks. I think this would bring out the very cool artistic graffiti out there, but it does not address the real problem. Graffiti isn't merely expression- it's a way of speaking, and an often negative one at that. The point behind it is that it's out of place.
polartomato, Jul 27 2002

       h a l f b a k e r s
thumbwax, Jul 27 2002

       [polar[, that's simply one application. Graffiti is simply painting on another's property.
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       [UB], I'm afraid I don't see how your comments are related. And re the link: I live very near long island city. They don't enourage graffiti at /all /.
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       Una- Is your problem with graffiti the fact that it's there, or the fact that it's there without permission? If the former, then how do you feel about billboards and bus stop advertising? Should people only be allowed to put up pictures and words if they pay money?

If the latter, why not give kids a place to practice their spray can art? It's not like they should just paint on canvas, that's a totally different form of artwork. I can paint quite well with spraypaint but suck horribly with a paintbrush and paper/canvas.

polartomato- only gang graffiti is, indeed, gang graffiti. Most gang graffiti consists of poorly written lettering, sometimes with letters crossed out (crips often cross out the letter "O" because of its use in the word "blood") and is not the visual masterpiece of a true graffiti artist, though some are in gangs.
AfroAssault, Jul 27 2002

       [Afro], you have a point about billboard advertising vs graffiti. I think a distinction does need to be made between spray painted 'art' and the ugly destructive tags (which comprises the vast majority of graffiti I've seen). Most people who enjoy and are good at painting with spray cans would probably prefer to get permission for their murals (if only, so that their hard work doesn't get painted over).   

       I've heard of a number of schemes in Australia to create mural walls in public places (often as a youth initiative). This encourages young people to vent their creativity in a less destructive manner. The city of Brisbane has had many of their switching boxes that control traffic lights painted. I heard they even gave small grants of money to people who wanted to paint one. They look great!   

       It is however important to not tolerate those who graffiti without permission. It is a crime, and usually an ugly and annoying one at that. That being said, I like this idea.
madradish, Jul 29 2002


“Most people who enjoy and are good at painting with spray cans would probably prefer to get permission…”
Gimmie a break.

“Much of what is done is unsightly…”
You’re assuming that everyone shares your opinion. Many of us don’t.

“They are commissioned works, painted to a standard set by the local government in Brisbane.”
You’re exactly the kind of person I do not want judging art. If all artists waited for their art to be commissioned, approved and set by a government standard, the world would suck. Go find that place you were talking about—you know the one with the white (and padded) walls…and then lock the gate once you’re inside.

“My problems with it [graffiti] are, as specified above, that most of it is not of sufficient quality to attract the approval of its audience and that it is placed illicitly.”
If your thinking its audience is government officials with policies on what is, or is not art, then you're right.

UnaBubba, you hang your arguments on the legality issue, but at their core they're simply armatures for your distaste of a particular visual aesthetic, and the people who voice it. "Shoot the little bastards onsite"? How cute. This stuff and these people will be there in the morning and they aren't going away anytime soon.

See link for a personal message.
iuvare, Jul 29 2002

       //crips often cross out the letter "O" because of its use in the word "blood"//
Would someone please help me out here?
angel, Jul 29 2002

       Crips and Bloods are two notorious Afro-centric gangs. Crips wear blue, Bloods wear red. They both bleed red, though. They're certainly not just in L.A. - blood flows quite less freely these days, as alliances were formed after Rodney King verdict went down - they'd been killing one another at alarming-even-to-themselves rates. h a l f b a k e r s
thumbwax, Jul 29 2002

       So they're like franchised operations then? Does anything in the way of philosophy distinguish one from the other (or from any other gang)? I ask purely from interest.
angel, Jul 29 2002

       See Crips and Bloods link, as well as Gang Graffiti link
thumbwax, Jul 29 2002


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