Graffiti vs Tagging
However, I don’t quite get the practice of tagging where the object is just to spray paint their name (or tag) just for the sake of putting their name on something… I mean, what is the point?
I could argue that all art is based on ego. An artist wants to express their view of the world, or a patron wants to immortalize themselves. However, art (and for my argument, artistic graffiti) is more of a give and take, or a communication if you will, with the viewer. In exchange for immortalizing me (or at least viewing my work), I will give you a visual treat, or a “profound” statement, or at least a glimpse at something you might not otherwise have though of.
Tagging doesn’t give back to the viewer, unless it is to say “I was here”, but honestly, who cares? Probably the most famous “tagging” was “Kilroy was here“, but at least it is still a cute image to look at. Maybe the anarchy symbol was a form of tagging, but it had, in theory at least, a political statement behind it.
Maybe I am naive, and there is supposed to be a statement behind some of these tags. If there is, they have failed. I have no idea if they are trying to say something, let alone what they are trying to say.
Unfortunately this vandalism seems to have become out of hand lately. Apparently there is a dedicated police officer in Victoria who’s job is to take reports of tagging. She has a database of the various tags, and who they belong to, so when someone reports a tagging, she can bring charges to the person responsible.
The city workers who are sent out to clean off these tags have various secret cleaning solutions. They refuse to disclose the formulations because the taggers will change their paint to compensate.
So what is the solution? I admit it is not easy, but a starting point might be to encourage graffiti. If the true graffiti artists were allowed to express their art form, they in turn would not want their artwork defaced with tags. Most of the graffiti artists are closer to the street scene, and so closer to the vandals. This is, of course complicated by building owners who don’t want their property to be used as a canvas.
A second, and totally impractical, solution would be to actively find the taggers, but instead of fining them, or putting them in jail overnight, send them to art school. Obviously they have a need to express themselves.
Yeah, so I am naive….
Footnotes (↵ returns to text)
- wikipedia article↵
- either by a portrait of themselves, or by association with an object, ie medieval tapestries of castles were meant, at some level, to immortalize the king.↵
- I am using my own artwork for a number of reasons, and hopefully they help my point. I can argue that these observations are valid with all art.↵