Blended. Urban. Free. Forms.
In CONTEMPORARY Culture
What value does it have?
Part of the modern urban experience involves exposure to the visual phenomena that is graffiti and graffiti removal across the landscape.
Often, when a space is affected by graffiti an attempt will be made by some authority to restore the space; either through chemical removal or repainting of the surface. This is known as graffiti “buffing”. Graffiti removal is way more of a priority to city officials than I believe it should be.
What I don’t understand is why so much money is spent making sure public spaces are kept grey and neutral tones. In the past the city of Oakland has spent more than $1 million a year cleaning graffiti, with $75,000 on just paint. This is a ridiculous amount to invest in GREY. Why not use a fraction of what is spent cleaning graffiti and invest in art.? If the space is in the interest of the public, then it should be used to its’ full potential in enriching people’s experience of the space.
Funds that are wasted in this back and forth game could be used to stimulate the local art community and help provide opportunities for emerging artists. These public spaces have so much potential for hosting creative ventures and there is an immense amount of local talent that could thrive from having the space/opportunity to create freely.
I believe the issue has to do with communication. The priority seems to be the suppression of dialogue. City officials seem to prefer the lack of visual information in these spaces. Instead of occupying walls with the ideas and emotions of the public they are kept blank. Silence is the preferred state of being. How boring.
I have set myself on this project as a way of drawing attention to this sort of strange obsession city authority has with keeping public space Neutral. Lacking. Without. Blank. Silent. This project also works directly against that agenda and allows full self-expression through an artistic medium in a public space. Using their own materials and techniques I redirect graffiti buffers energies back onto their work. Using their vocabulary of censorship and neutrality I form my own visual diatribes against this agenda. I directly protest the absence of imagery in our world by composing pieces for these spaces. This self- directed painting is somewhat aligned with the spirit of graffiti, although the finished pieces are perceptively comparable to graffiti buffing. These Buff paintings come about without the need for commission. They exist for the sake of creativity. They exist in these spaces because they were painted there. There is no pretension in them. There is not an attempt at representation of any kind. The painting works mostly as a documentation of the performance. It is the result of my physical interaction with the architecture of the city. when executing these Buff paintings. I am conscious of my environment in a way unlike what is routinely experienced. I am directly engaging with it. I paint in and on the living world, trying to keep a conversation going.
This is communication in contemporary society.