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Graffiti vs. "Contemporary Street Art"
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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Confidential wrote:
TurnpikeGates wrote:
Confidential wrote:
I think the cultural and social change of graffiti, sometimes ugly and sloppy, is most exciting when it is outside the purview of controlling institutions.



What about non-institutional co-optation? Like the assimilation into white/middle-class/mainstream culture at large? This has always happened in and around the culture itself, but now it seems like hipsters and art students want in on the fun on their own terms--not to join the culture, but just to taste the safer end of subversion.

See now I sound like I'm inserting my own critique, but I'm trying to be ethnographic here...I'm moreso repeating things I've heard. Am I making up the idea that kids who can get stabbed over their art feel resentment toward kids who stencil balloons onto stop signs?


Well, I think its a little more subtle than the basic in group/out group or privileged white suburban/ underprivileged youth. These distinctions are indeed present, however, I think the boundaries are not always clear. There is often some form of exchange. In some cases, the raw forms of the art may take from the more "refined" aspects, while still maintaining some of the street code. I get where you are coming from ethnographically, and it is valid, it isn't usually articulated in the culture in ways we might expect. And the power relationship between social classes might be negotiated by either side. Nowadays, a tagger likely to be more hipster than gangster in appearance. The music tastes of the insider and outsider are probably very similar. The street kid with talent who is offered a place at the institution but can't leave his old ways is a familiar narrative. As is the overprivileged, yet alienated youth who flirts with crime.

In the real world the political arguments that I might make- that graffiti is an autonomous rebellion from institutions, that liberal mainstream hipster culture co-opts the art, and that the graffiti writer refuses at times this co-optation and other times negotiates it may be real. But the key is to allow the subtleties to emerge in their own ways, without such overtly mediated analyses.


Amazing response, and a really tactful calling out. I'm asking to be told something I assume is true, without asking what is actually true. Shit's more complicated than that and I know better!

Awesome. I still want to hear more voices on this. Any suggested reading? I might also re-visit "Bomb The Suburbs."
Post Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:47 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
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TurnpikeGates wrote:
Amazing response, and a really tactful calling out. I'm asking to be told something I assume is true, without asking what is actually true. Shit's more complicated than that and I know better!
I agree with this praise of the post quoted!

Quote:

I might also re-visit "Bomb The Suburbs."
Haha just to make sure that the perspective of the privileged white hipster (in the most classical sense of the term) is REALLY represented!
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:35 am
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7735
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did you watch the "Bomb-It" movie i posted???? dont sleep, it ranges from from tagging , murals , stencils, "street art" a little bit of canvas and classic graffiti of course , good watch
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:33 am
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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Neuro wrote:
did you watch the "Bomb-It" movie i posted???? dont sleep, it ranges from from tagging , murals , stencils, "street art" a little bit of canvas and classic graffiti of course , good watch

Sir, I wouldn't dare to sleep. I'll watch that for sure, but probably not right away. This project/conversation is unfortunately second or third priority right now.
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:35 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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Location: Bay Area
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Jesse wrote:
TurnpikeGates wrote:
Amazing response, and a really tactful calling out. I'm asking to be told something I assume is true, without asking what is actually true. Shit's more complicated than that and I know better!
I agree with this praise of the post quoted!

Quote:

I might also re-visit "Bomb The Suburbs."
Haha just to make sure that the perspective of the privileged white hipster (in the most classical sense of the term) is REALLY represented!


Yeah, but one clearly steeped in graffiti culture, and well before this (Internet-based, I imagine) recent boom. Not to mention, in my recollection, as strident and arrogant as he often comes off, Upski directly deals with race, politics, and is fairly honest self-analysis.
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:39 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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Location: privileged homeless
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TurnpikeGates wrote:
Yeah, but one clearly steeped in graffiti culture, and well before this (Internet-based, I imagine) recent boom. Not to mention, in my recollection, as strident and arrogant as he often comes off, Upski directly deals with race, politics, and is fairly honest self-analysis.
No for sure it's a valuable read, but even he knows he wasn't fully baked at the time he wrote it. I have a lot of affection for the book and I think it addresses important things in an eye-opening way, but what I find even more charming is the flaws that make it almost too embarrassing to read at times.

For me!
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:12 pm
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14600786
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:03 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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mancabbage wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14600786


"I think people buy into the concept of street art now."

Excellent; thanks for this!

"The teenage vandals are now in their forties, and decorating... a police station."
Post Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:02 pm
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: Queens, NYC
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People have been trying to legitimize graffiti for thirty years. In some respects, there has been success. However it ultimately doesn't matter because even a painted canvas in a gallery can get dissed.
Post Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:25 am
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
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TurnpikeGates wrote:
Neuro wrote:
did you watch the "Bomb-It" movie i posted???? dont sleep, it ranges from from tagging , murals , stencils, "street art" a little bit of canvas and classic graffiti of course , good watch

Sir, I wouldn't dare to sleep. I'll watch that for sure, but probably not right away. This project/conversation is unfortunately second or third priority right now.


maybe the video will add to the conversation/topic

thats why i shared it
Post Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:47 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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Reggie wrote:
People have been trying to legitimize graffiti for thirty years. In some respects, there has been success. However it ultimately doesn't matter because even a painted canvas in a gallery can get dissed.
I cross shit out in galleries on the regular. Then grab my balls and holler WHAT.

Then catch a beat down from some effete thirty-nine-year-old installation artist who works in sculpture and video primarily. He better bring a whole crew is all I'm saying.
Post Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:26 pm
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crash



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
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Location: the chocolate city with a marshmallow center and a graham cracker crust of corruption
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Most of the writers I know hate "street art", not because of anything to do with the art itself but because of how the street artists themselves and those outside graffiti culture view it. Graffiti is primarily about destruction and ego. Fundamentally each tag / piece / hollow is an announcement ďI want fame. My need for fame is more important than your propertyĒ (or in the case of govt. property, your tax dollars). Some people will try to bullshit you that graffiti is about reclaiming space (tagging over billboards, etc) or making dull cityscapes more colorful but thatís just a rationalization. Itís about putting your name up by any means available. I wonít deny that graffiti gives a voice to the disenfranchised in a limited way, but letís not romanticize it into something itís not.

On the other hand street artists seem to me more motivated by the impulse to beautify public space and spread political messages. Fame is involved as well, but usually to a lesser extent, and itís almost never acknowledged, ďitís all about the artĒ. Writers hate that shit because itís so fucking pretentious. They also hate the fact that anyone can make a stencil of a flower, put it on the sidewalk, and call themselves a street artist. Graffiti takes a lot of practice, working on your letters, your tag, your fill in, and eventually pieces, and the whole time youíre working at it youíre getting gone over and laughed at by your seniors, and possibly catching a beat down or two. After years of putting in work in the streets, getting ups and making a style thatís your own, thatís when you finally get respect (of course you might be able to get some respect with great style and little ups or vice versa, but without both youíll still get clowned). So if you see some fucking hipster who decides to beautify his city after reading the seeing Exit Through the Gift Shop, well, you might be a little annoyed. Stencils are cheap fame. So are wheat pastes and slaps.

But, I do find that some street artists manage to gain the respect of writers. Artists that have a lot of ups just might be accepted (Usually by writers with more artistic inclinations. Rarely by those more on the bombing end of the spectrum).

The key here is earned respect. If you put up a piece in a gallery and you havenít paid your dues in the streets, youíre a joke. The same goes for anyone teaching graffiti classes, doing murals, or trying to claim graffiti culture in anyway. You have to have years of work in the streets to be able to hold any sort of claim to represent graffiti culture.

And of course street artists can't figure out why they're getting crossed out these ego obsessed simple minded graff writers.

Thatís the beef between writers and street artists.

exhibit a:



Last edited by crash on Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:56 pm; edited 3 times in total
Post Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:47 pm
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tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
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Location: Las Vegas
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When I hear my friends talk about the politics of graffiti and the fights and elitism and all that, it sounds exactly like the bullshit that surrounds the "higher" art community.

It makes me feel relieved that I never excelled at any sort of visual art. What a fucking headache it all is. I mean shit, all art forms have their annoying aspects and personalities, but with purely visual art, it just seems to be magnified tenfold.

And then for some reason, once people become tattoo artists, the bullshit is lowered significantly. Probably because they are getting paid.

What would be the lowest form of graffiti? I'm going with scratching a tag on plexiglass or plastic. Or maybe scraping your tag from the lacquer on a piece of finished wood.

My "I watched Exit through the gift shop now I do street art" is going to be printing clear outlined teardrop stickers of various sizes and them sticking them on pictures of public figures. It will make people question authority when they see these leaders crying. Teardroppin bombs!

Fuckin art bro!
Post Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:36 pm
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z-spot22



Joined: 19 Dec 2003
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Location: chicago
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*sillieness* sorry about that
Post Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:25 pm
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SFR announcement



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 922
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I'm really glad to see this conversation turn the way it did. I wasn't looking forward to trying to pump myself up for a thoughtful response and then giving up completely the way I do every time a topic like this one arises. Anyway...thank you.
Post Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:33 am
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