The Art Of Looking.

It’s been four years now since I started documenting graffiti. Most of what I took pictures of is now gone, which is sad, but also a lesson in the nature of art. In the classical view a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Since nothing can really last forever a thing of beauty can only be a joy as long as it’s still around—even the classicists have to accept that all things must eventually come to an end.

I’ve really had an almost lifelong interest in graffiti. As I’ve said before it really started when I was a teenager and saw a documentary about the New York subway art movement of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. There were the taggers who just scribbled, but there were also those who created big multi-colored murals. Some of these artists went to jail for what they did. Some also got noticed by art dealers and collectors and were given studio space and materials.

In the four years that I’ve been taking and sharing these pictures, though, I feel I’ve become even more conscious not just of graffiti but how the neighborhoods where I find it are changing, as well as the purposes served by any kind of creative expression. I feel like it’s made me look at the world differently, and I hope I’ve passed that on.

6 Comments

  1. nsfordwriter

    I find graffiti fascinating. Some people say it’s not art, but anything created can be defined as art. Graffiti is also a way of getting one’s art to be seen in public, while only a very few artists get their work into galleries, and only then if their art is what the market wants.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you–and I agree completely. Anything created can be defined as art, and it fascinates me that some graffiti artists get recognized by the quality of their work and eventually do get into galleries. There was a big trend of this in the ’80’s and the sad thing is the artists who created graffiti were often risking being put in jail just to get the recognition that would allow them to pursue careers as artists.

      Reply
  2. Kristine Laco

    I spoke to a graffiti artist one day while he was painting over another piece of art. The rule in Graffiti Alley is you don’t add art if you are not from the area. “And, his art sucks.” So the sucky art became the canvas for the new. I also asked if tagging artwork is really bad. “Not always. If I leave a blank spot, I’m expecting someone to fill it. It feels like appreciation.” And then I started getting lightheaded from the paint and moved on.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s really fascinating, and I love it that graffiti artists have rules like that. Something I’ve noticed is that even in areas that are heavy on graffiti if there’s a mural or other public art the graffiti artists leave it alone. There’s honor among graffitists.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    You have passed that on, Chris, and I am eternally grateful. I am passing on to you that WordPress is blocking my comments on your post from my laptop. I will continue to connect via my iPhone.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The commenting issue, I think, has come up since WordPress’s latest upgrade and my insistence on using the “classic” format. I’ve tried a few things and hopefully they’ve worked. I’d hate to miss any of your comments.

      Reply

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