Archive for Discussion

Street Art

Posted in Art, Life with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by victorbiola

Melbourne is at the centre of a discussion on the legality of Street Art. We are now looking at various community leaders openly stating whether graffiti is art or not. Many of these public figures do not have a background in art, yet they seem to have developed an expert opinion on the topic.

I am not trying to sound condescending or like an elitist, but since when do we ask a police spokes-person on definitions of art? That would be a bit like asking a theatre director how to keep Melbourne’s streets safe and quoting him on the topic as if he was an expert.

Beautiful banner by Astrid Elsmann

Beautiful banner by Astrid Elsmann

In my view the entire discussion regarding graffiti misses a major point. We should not ask whether Street Art is Art! The question should be whether or not Street Art should be criminalised by parts of our society.

Have we not learnt from our not so distant past? Did American officials really believe that they could stop the entire country from consuming alcohol in the 1930’s? Do Victorian officials seriously believe that a draconian law will stop taggers from tagging? Does the Graffiti Prevention Act not rather criminalise young people in general?

We have to be very clear that this new legislation has the power to have the opposite effect that tagging becomes a trend. We should acknowledge that there is a problem with graffiti in the public opinion. We should also acknowledge that there are many Melbourne residents who want change and a massive reduction in the amount of tagging and graffiti. Well, the Graffiti Prevention Act will not bring the solution but put young members of our community in dire straits.

To quote from a stencil that I saw in Fitzroy once:

‘Keep your coins, I want change’…

Read the following blogs to get informed about the debate:

  • Core TV 1 Very informative post on the Graffiti Prevention Act and some of the groups who are against graffiti. Good blog.
  • Geekgirl Love the name! This post is on a stencil festival in Melbourne and has some interesting insights into our current political state of the art regarding street art
  • Images To Live By This is another informative blog with a great post on the Graffiti Prevention Act 
  • Don’t Ban The Can Most locals know about DBTC by now, they are an interest group of street art supporters and against the Graffiti Prevention Act. They organise events to celebrate street art! This is what democracy is about! Standing up for what you believe in…

Victor Biola

 keep-your-coins-i-want-change

PS: If anyone is still looking for a valid definition of art please check the Free Dictionary

art 1

n.
1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.
2.
a. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.
b. The study of these activities.
c. The product of these activities; human works of beauty considered as a group.
3. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value.
4. A field or category of art, such as music, ballet, or literature.
5. A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.
6.
a. A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a set of activities: the art of building.
b. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: the art of the lexicographer.
7.
a. Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of the baker; the blacksmith’s art.
b. Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties: “Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice” Joyce Carol Oates.
8.
a. arts Artful devices, stratagems, and tricks.
b. Artful contrivance; cunning.
9. Printing Illustrative material.
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Graffiti – Is it for You?

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by victorbiola

Voice Your Opinion on Video

In a previous post Victor Biola featured a group of independent filmmakers – Core TV 1. Well, they have now put together a Call For Entries in regards to graffiti and EVERYONE can now voice their opinion on a video.   > Call For Entries <

So, if you have an opinion, get it out there and make it count.

Victor Biola

Graffiti Documentary

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by victorbiola

Graffiti seems to have become a topic that polarises the community throughout the world. It is interesting to see the various interest groups and lobbies here in Melbourne and the same trends can be seen world-wide (see some links below) . You might find it interesting to read up on opinions at this blog:

www.coretv1.wordpress.com

There is also a questionnaire about that topic that is fun to answer. They are a new group of independent filmmakers working on a documentary on graffiti in Melbourne.

Personally, I must say that I have very mixed opinions on the topic. I live in a diverse city, Melbourne (by the way). We have our Jewish suburbs in the South and our Muslim community mostly in the Northern suburbs. There are various European groups, many Iraqis, Indians, Chinese, Malaysians, and various other East Asian groups. Basically we are a melting pot of diversity. Mostly the blend works and there is not a lot of negative tension. The diversity is generally very appealing from the culinary aspects through to the dating side of things. The world is here!

Well, back to graffiti. You find a very interesting mix of street art. There is a large amount of stencils, paste-ups and conventional graffiti in the CBD. There is also a fair of tagging happening there, but the tagging itself seems to dominate more in the outer suburbs, where the stencils become more rare.

Again, personally, I do not like tagging much at all. Graffiti artists often commence by tagging. That might be the case, but it does not make it more appealing. Many artists start somewhere, but the public generally gets spared to look at their first attempts. I find tagging very selfish and ugly. It annoys me.

Many vandals who are obsessed by their own tags hide behind a diverse and talented street art scene. I am not trying to say that only the best artists should be able to do street art, but there are to many selfish taggers out there imposing their ugly stuff on everyone. It also has a tendency to devalue an area. If you want to sell your house, you will get less for it if someone has placed graffiti or tags on it.

In many cases graffiti adds colour to an area and it can therefore add artisitc value. In very few cases it will add property value and that is only if a majority of people feels attracted to that location due to the graffiti.
In many cases graffiti destroys the vibe of an area and I believe that it is a clichee that graffiti always adds artistic value. For a starter it is hardly ever done in respect to the architecture. I doubt that the majority of taggers ever consider imagery and colour after picking the location.

There should be and will be a space for art in the streets of our urban centres regardless of laws. This will not change in the future. It seems to be a natural need to our species to express ourselves as well as marking our territory. One might say that there is a primitive notion in that, but it does not change the nature of it.

Your views comments are as always welcome!

Cheers,

Victor Biola

 

Another few interesting blogs/sites that I found on this topic:

Site on Southern Californian graffiti and street art, set up in support of book ‘Graffiti L.A., Street Styles and Art –  http://graffitila.com/

Site of Chicago activists (pro-graffiti) – http://www.counterproductiveindustries.com/gbgc/

Detailed website on global graffiti, intelligent write-ups, interesting vids and good imagery!!! – http://www.ilovegraffiti.com

See also: http://ilovegraffiti-en.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-debate-in-australia.html

YouTube site – send in your video opinion on graffiti – www.youtube.com/coretv1

Interesting post with good background knowledge – http://cuidado06.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/19/

Opinions –  http://subcorpus.wordpress.com/2007/04/26/is-graffiti-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder/

Irish voice on the topic – http://kirribilli.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/artvandalism/