We are born free people, yet there are always restrictions.
We choose if we want to break them, whether with facts or through fiction.
Whether on walls using diction,
Or any crawl through confliction.
And no amount of chains and barriers
Will restrain us, no contradiction.
We understand we’re not on ice,
That there’s always going to be friction.
As expressers, fighters, artists, world changers
It comes from an Italian word, meaning scratch.
Look at it again and a whole new world
The term graffiti, referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, and such, found on the walls of ancient graves or ruins, as in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompeii. Use of the word has evolved to include any graphics applied to surfaces in a manner that constitutes vandalism.
75% of people think its vandalism.
Toronto spends one million a year on graffiti removal.
When artists get back in the game, they haven’t given their approval.
Why don’t you use that money to feed the thousands of poor in society?
Instead of worrying about the art that the citizens need to see.
I never got A’s in elementary school art.
Getting marked on art still sounds like you need to be smart.
But graffiti doesn’t have to mean anything,
Not every letter is a symbol.
There are complications too but it can also be simple.
Almost every kind that I saw on the streets
Took a soft place in my heart, eventually turned concrete.
Let me reel back to grade 10 when I actually took art courses
In the media arts classroom I was taught people as my sources
Banksy, JR, Sofles, Katsu, Kidult, Shepard Fairey.
After my first graffiti assignment I understood clearly
What would happen if you brought a spray paint can near me.
The reason for graffiti is a simple one,
Not always about rebelling, or having fun.
Every artist craves to paint in his or her own way.
And all of us have messages that need to be portrayed.
Like, I was here, I’m alive, let me leave my mark.
This city is mine too, and I want to give it my spark
I belong, I have a voice, and I crave to make a change
These walls are too voiceless when it comes to the speaking range
My love for social justice brings in political ties
Through graffiti one can tell what country thrives with lies
It gives any surface a story, makes it come alive.
Change the system if you strive, until justice is revived.
To try to help the oppressed,
The shapes and lines were mine,
But they’re the ones on the line,
And to sit and do nothing would be an even bigger crime.
I even changed my initials to KKB
The B is for Banksy, its everywhere you see me.
My email has a Banksy, my Twitter did too.
Graffiti is my life, though you already knew.
Humanity is lost within the walls that we made
Graffiti brought it back to me,
And like the ocean did I wade.
Inside the political aspect that structures our brains
And the society that gives us money to drain
All the false information and the things we don’t need
Gives me hope to find these messages written on the streets
Sometimes freedom of speech isn’t so free at all.
But if Facebook deletes posts, documentaries have biased calls,
There’s another way of speaking, even if we fall,
I love how it’s not typical; no tag is the same.
Its breathing life on the walls, not stuck in a frame.
It stands out.
Stands outside of a museum where you always have to pay.
To see something that may or may not catch your attention right away.
That makes your head sway,
Give you some kind of reaction, moves you to action.
Not something you have to think hard about,
There’s little analysis needed, a splash merrily seeded.
Its urgent, its in the moment, for realization.
Once the message has been received, it’s an artist’s confirmation.
I integrated graffiti as a part of my every day life, including school
Drew it in math projects, French presentations, writer’s craft essays, it was my arts night welcome sign tool.
I will carry this with me through university
And it’ll take me further in the arts industry.
When you walk by graffiti in the street, do you ever take the time to notice it? Like, really notice it? Do you ever think about the person behind the spray paint can? Writers are not only being underappreciated for their talents, but they’re being harassed, looked down on, all for no reason. Do you know any of their stories? Do you know what thoughts and feelings sprayed out of the can when the paint hit the wall? Do you ever think about the history behind the art? To breakdown the styles of graffiti, here’s a simple introduction. There are tags, the simplest forms of graffiti. A signature. There are stencils. There are stickers, also known as slaps. Wildstyles are also used, and they’re more intricate, more colourful, and harder to read. It’s a particular style of writing developed in New York City. A piece is one that takes time an effort, and requires more than three colours. A blockbuster is used to cover the most space in the least amount of time. And a heaven is a piece that’s put in a hard to reach area, like the tops of tall buildings or on freeway signs. There’s the style bubble, old school, brush, abstract, bombings, whole car, ignorant, landscape, realistic, billboard, cartoon and sharp as well.
A sense of tranquility seeps into my veins every time my marker hits the paper, full of energy, full of hope. Starting graffiti was a way to combine my passion for speaking out against oppression and my love for the arts. Even though my work is not displayed on the streets, it has the same style, and it may not have the same effect but it counts as an escape for me. It doesn’t make me a graffiti artist, and some would even argue that doing canvas work kills the purpose of graffiti but I always want my work to make an impact on people no matter which way I do it. It’s something I love to do, and anyone can take that any way they desire. There are stereotypes that I’ve had to battle, but in the end, I know my true intentions. I don’t need to make a name for myself. I don’t need to create a reputation for myself either. True, this is not real graffiti, but that’s as far as I choose to take my fascination. I do it because of the escape it provides for me, the sense of freedom, and the sense of power in my markers.
These are the little movements of writers, all of us trying to get at revolution. Art is not supposed to be limited in frames. That’s why to me, the streets are some of the biggest forms of freedom – do as much as you like, however you like, all free. The poor and rich all have to see it. No one can avoid the message. It is not only artistic expression; it’s a protest. A scream of anger and emotion aimed towards public spaces. Graffiti artists did not start the war, they just respond to defend our vision of what graffiti and society should be: free. A battle against commercialism and a way of saying ‘no’ to materialism and society’s over consumption. To the government, you are not the only ones who own these cities. What about the rest of us that do not exist until we leave a mark of our own? This is a game of action and reaction, if you will.
Taking care of our society is our obligation. That means changing anything harmful to us with every mean possible. Graffiti seems to offend a majority of society but if we took the time to appreciate and understand, a lot of good can be done if we turned the negatives into positives. So if we aimed for change and acted on it, especially with art, we’d be much less stressed. More often, we’d just remember, to stay blessed.
an assignment for a writers class. i made a video, but this is the word version (: