In the paper today, lex HL 9-14, a local university is presenting ‘Street Tested: Kentucky Graffiti Artists’ in their gallery. This in itself is an amusing idea, snarly defiant art insurgents participating in a sunday afternoon panel discussion, but maybe it will set some standards for fence and alley vandals in our fair city. Not that I’m not a fan. Never disappointed to be stopped at a train crossing so long as it’s composed of cars from all over.
Somewhere in train yards, under threat of more than just justice, kids with spray cans make amazing art. They must be doing it for others like themselves because I can never figure out what it says and if I do I don’t know it means, but the color contrasts, the rhythmic balance and imagination crank very hard at fifty mph clicking past. They take these chances, train yards have private security, to send their tag out into the world and I’m looking.
Now that’s romantic and the art carries the load. Some of it’s so good and its reasons so pure, they don’t get paid, it almost justifies defacing the private property of some gigantic corporation. It can get out of hand. Chicago banned aerosol paint years ago so too bad if you want to paint a kitchen chair. Let’s face it, not everyone who wields the can has worked out the design beforehand or developed the deftness to apply spray paint, and not every blank space needs decoration.
Be careful what you sanction would be my suggestion to the progressive university, presenting semi-legal artwork “not meant to be auctioned to the the highest bidder” lest you find a heart in red spray paint on your own front steps.