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  • Writer's pictureCarol Wiebe

Graffiti Isn’t Always Illicit, Is it?

What is it about a wall that urges us to put our names on it?

The documentary BOMB IT has some insights into this irresistible urge. Exit Through the Gift Shop gives us a sampling of experiences in the life of  a graffiti artist. The New York Times summed up the film as follows:

Narrated by Rhys Ifans with the dryness of a dessicated toad, Exit Through the Gift Shop is both an exhilarating testament to serendipity and an appalling testament to art-world inanity.

The film features the infamous Banksy,  “a pseudonymous England based graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctivestencilling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.”  (see Banksy in Wikipedia)

 If you have a statue in the city centre you could go past it every day on your way to school and never even notice it, right. But as soon as someone puts a traffic cone on its head, you’ve made your own sculpture. …….Banksy The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages” ……Banksy People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly. …..Banksy

This pic, taken in Southampton, only sports names. That astounds me: no sayings?  no political statements? no graphics? And the names hardly show, another unusual characteristic.

Name Wall 1

Photoshop Elements let me grunge it up a little:

Name Wall 2

This would be a more typical offering. It is really well done, according to my eye, and I agree with the statement.

As I did with My Sentiments Exactly  a week ago.

With over four and a half million graffiti images in Flickr alone, you can decide what you like (or don’t) for yourself.

Google has 22 million images. offers up 2300 books. These are all using the one word ~ GRAFFITI ~ as a search string.

For most people, graffiti is admirable if they like it, and illicit if it scares them, offends them, or they are the ones who have to clean it up.

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