The Calgary police have just wrapped up a seven-month investigation into acts of graffiti, ending in the questioning of eight males, between the ages of 16 and 24. The police admit the graffiti targetted is of the hip-hop rather than the gang-related stream.
Meanwhile gang members are shooting at each others from passing cars on a weekly basis, and occasionally tossing molotov cocktails into each other's houses.
I really have to question the priorities in play here. Personally I don't have an issue with graffiti. A lot of it is beautiful and compelling and highly creative. Yes, there is the issue of graffiti being used to mark out gang territories, but police admit that this particular lengthy investigation did not target gang markings.
This story puts me in mind a little of another recent graffiti story in the news. In March a valuable Banksy piece was inadvertently painted over by a graffiti removal crew. I guess that's one of the risks you take when your art is done on someone else's property.
For the record (no pun intended), my one of my favourite recent Banksy perpetrations was the doctoring of 500 copies of Paris Hilton's cds. The man has won my heart.
So I ask you, my friends:
Is graffiti art?
When a work of graffiti becomes recognized as art, should it be afforded some degree of protection or does that in fact fly in the face of the very concept of graffiti?
Friday Random Playlist coming at you:
Blackout - Muse
Put Out Your Lights - Matthew Good
Grounds for Divorce - Wolf Parade
I Danced - Violent Femmes
And He Shall Purify - Handel
Upside Down - the Jesus and Mary Chain
Testosterone - Bush
Wonderful and Sad - Hawksley Workman
Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
Hand in Glove - the SmithsHave a fantastic weekend, all you creative rebels. Go out and do something beautiful and subversive.
I'm going to be bopping my head along to the criminally catchy sounds of Peter Bjorn and John tonight, and will give you a review of the concert tomorrow. No doubt I'll be speaking in a Swedish accent.