Sunday, 12 September 2010

Things You Don’t See (Properly) From A Car: Graffiti

Some of this blog is about things you don’t do when you’re in a car – like taking a close look at the place you’re in (rather than just passing through it). I can’t say that you’d miss the subjects of this post from a car – they are too big, bold and bright for that. But to take a closer look you need to be on two feet rather than four wheels. Hence, a walking tour of the graffiti in and around Brighton’s North Laine, lead by Paul “Aroe”, an established Brighton graffiti artist, as part of the Regency Town House Heritage Open House weekend
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Following are some photos from the tour.

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And here are some things we didn’t know about graffiti, gleaned from Paul of Heavy Artillery:
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1 Graffiti artists prefer to be known as “writers.”
2 Street art ≠ graffiti. The latter, using spray paints, don’t make contact with the surface. The former do. So Banksy, and Brighton’s Cassette Lord, are street artists – they use stencils.
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3 Graffiti writers are well-organised, and often collaborate with each other – some of the big graffiti sites result from jams, where several writers participate in a project
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4 Many writers earn a living from what they do – picking up commissions as a result of their more “informal” work
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5 Graffiti writers probably have a significant carbon footprint – many of the jams involve international participants flying in
6 Brighton and Hove Council, having decided that it’s hard to beat the graffiti-istas, now has a good working relationship with the writers – which means that there is now a lot less of the unattractive tagging which the council used to spend a lot of time and money cleaning up
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7 The writers we met on the tour, legitimately spraying some hoardings off of The Level, were polite, charming and articulate, and enjoyed having their work analysed and praised (Hello “Gary”).
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8 The spray paints smell bad, going on toxic, and can’t be good for the health of the writers
9 Using a spray can to get a straight line and a hard edge needs really good hand-eye co-ordination and firm motor control
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10 Though some of the imagery looks violent, the writers insist it’s all a joke. Presumably in a post-modern ironic kind of way. Smurfs with machine guns, anyone?
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11 If you want to join in, contact B&H Council. And don’t trespass on other writer’s work!
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PS: Did you know that Rolf Harris has done a bit of writing in Brighton? For a tv show. Here it is:
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