When is graffiti not graffiti? That’s a question I’ve tangled with before and not one I feel has a straightforward answer. If you want to get eggheaded about it the term “graffiti” comes from the Italian graffito which means “to scratch” and became associated with vandalism because people like the ancient Romans were not only conquerors but also tourists who went to places like the pyramids of Egypt and scratched notes into the rocks. Sometimes they scratched a thumbs-up sign and sometimes they’d leave notes like, “Very good. Would visit again. Please come see my stadium.–Flatulus” but that’s another story.
I guess that’s why some people feel that “graffiti” is inappropriate for painted works or even too high falutin’ so they employ a low falutin’ term like “street art”.
But what if it’s not even on a street? And what if it’s not even vandalism but is commissioned work that happens to look like graffiti? Maybe I’m making this harder than it needs to be, but if graffiti can be art then art can also be graffiti.
I was sent along this mental Möbius strip by Michelle of Still Not A Journal who shared some pictures of works on and near a building “next to Tallebudgera Creek and under the Pacific Motorway” which she adds is “a dodgy looking area”. The place is called Expressive Ground which it turns out is a performance venue. The way they’ve decorated the place seems like a performance in itself, but I’m not going to get eggheaded and talk about “dynamism” and stuff like that. Here are the pictures:
The animal pictures are especially wonderful because they’re examples of that high falutin’ term trompe l’oeil, and also because I love how proud Australians are of their native fauna. And I can’t think of Australia without thinking of Bullamakanka so go and listen to their song “The Bunyip From Hooligan’s Creek”, not to be confused with The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek, which is another story, and if you recognized the Kate Bush song that was the source for the title of this post give yourself five bonus points.