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Two things in the “Graffiti” article sparked my memory of other events. The first one is a general observance of graffiti art on trains. Whenever I see graffiti I think it looks really cool, but I am often wondering what it says. According to the article this is the intent of many graffiti artists, “to creat[e] markings that were only readable by other graffiti writers.” This poses a question: why make the art if the audience doesn’t understand what is being said? If the graffiti artist wants to reach more people, the art created should be understood by others. The second aspect of this article that caught my attention was about stencils. Stencils allow artists to mass produce their art for many to see. As we have previously discussed in class mass production can either be good or bad. Mass-produced stencil art can be beneficial if a person wants to get their name out. If this is done too much though the image seems unoriginal and can slip into the background with the ordinary. With both graffiti and stencils used in the street, the new medium is an intriguing aspect of both, but if used incorrectly can damage the original intent.
You're right, if an image is mass produced too much, it will become unoriginal and just something in the background. Also, i feel like now graffiti artists have to walk that thin line between "selling out" and getting their name out there when companies start to enlist their abilities. Seeing that giant logo on every other billboard is going to take the originality and creativity out of graffiti. The happy medium does need to be established individually by the artist. How much are they willing to give up in their intricate and creative designs for the mass exposure?
The thing I like most about graffiti is the mystery behind each piece of work. Since many artist only produce images and messages that are understood by other graffiti artists, it leaves the rest of the population guessing and speculating what the message behind the art is. This gives us the opportunity to provide our own interpretation of the piece. I don't think that graffiti artists are necessarily trying to reach an audience, I believe that they just enjoy being able to create their art and have it displayed for the entire population to appreciate. I think it adds more opportunities for graffiti artist to expand their work if they are able include stencils within their graffiti artwork. However, like Laura said using stencils continuously can make the image and the artist message bland and cliched. I think that graffiti artists need to find a happy midway between being banality and extraordinary.
I definitely agree that graffiti is esoteric in a sense. I believe that sometimes the artist creates stencils that really only have meaning to the artist or like you said other graffiti artists. This also reminds me of what that San Francisco street artist (I forgot his name) from the video we watched in class said about how he creates art for his audience of the young street artist boy with a spray can in hand. I also agree with you that repeating the same stencil over and over again can be cliché but like the article states there are some artists that are constantly reworking their stencils. I find that fascinating and it would be cool to see the artist’s progression of his work on the streets.
I agree with your interpretation of the graffiti artists' motives. The idea that your audience is able to interpret what the piece means to them is a powerful thing. Allowing others to escape in the art piece is freeing. I'm sure for some graffiti artists there is no "targeted" group for which the art is meant because it travels all around the US, if it's on a train. To be able to cause other people around the United States to think about your piece and possibly discover something about themselves or their surroundings is a great cause to create graffiti art.
I really agree with you about the mystery behind each picture. But, I think that it's not intended to be inferred as a mystery, but in a way for the viewer to create their own interpretation and meaning. The artists don't intend to leave their work as a mystery to keep one guessing, because then you would most likely lose interest in the picture and forget about it. I think that by using stencils, and repeating them in many places, this is a way for the graffiti artist to tag and get his piece out to many locations. I feel that many graffiti artists only have one specific symbol that they repeat with stencils as their tag just to spread their name, but graffiti artists also have their intricate works where they really add talent. This makes them not bland and boring because they have originality.
Whenever I think of graffiti, I think of alleys, looking under bridges, and of course the streets. When I think about alleys and looking under bridges I feel like only certain people can see those artworks because not many people pass through those types of places. However, when there are artworks on the street, I feel like that is very open to the public- the artist really want their work to be seen. That's one thing I've noticed though about graffiti, it never really goes unseen. Whenever you walk by a street or go running under a bridge, there's graffiti there. Then it's usually big and very noticeable to the public. Whenever I pass graffiti artwork I usually wonder where these artists come up with these words or images. It always amazes me, and like Ashley said and I agree with her, it leaves us with something to think about. While reading this article, there was quote that really stood out to me. It was, "[...] but the text is no longer some open-ended cryptic message, but instead a name or slogan that defines a specific artists." I was really surprised by this statement actually because I thought artists wanted to remain anonymous and just leave a message for the public. We saw during class in the videos that artist would do graffiti for the art of it and spread their message, but now it seems like more and more people are trying to get their name out there. That's why I thought Banksy truly cared about his artwork and the street ethic because he turned down Nike; I'm sure a lot of artists would've loved that opportunity. Lastly, I agree with the statement that computers led "the culture of hand drawn and artistic stencils to the edge of extinction." I feel like the artwork wouldn't be as special or unique. I feel like it would lose that quality about it that would've been there if it were done by hand or stencils. All in all, I would say graffiti has made an impact on people- on the streets and throughout the web.
Graffiti is all around us. I admire some every day while I ride the connector on the trains that pass by. Some graffiti is clearly gang related, but there are many that are also carrying a message generally about society. I feel that Graffiti is one of the most inspirational types of art. I feel as though graffiti artists are real go-getters. They have an opinion and a message and they follow through and literally post their message in public where it can reach many viewers. I also respect many of them. I find it very important that popular graffiti artists such as Banksy have managed to keep true to their work and not fall to the bigger corporations who request their work. I feel that by Banksy denying companies such as Nike he is staying true to his art and to his image of rebellion. By working for Nike and creating advertisements, he would be selling himself out and his artwork would lose a lot of it's meaning and importance. Nike is clearly just looking for what is popular and hip and using Banksy as a selling device and this would not be giving the well deserved credit toward Banksy and his artwork. I really like the ending of the article where it talks about how computers are starting to lead the extinction of hand drawn items, but I feel if used in a low tech way, computers can aid in the creation of a drawing that is then to be hand drawn by the artist and cut by hand. Graffiti is a very powerful type of art and always a joy to view.
I would agree with you that graffiti, more often than not, looks really cool and can spice up an otherwise boring wall, train, etc. However, at the same time I have a problem with people essentially vandalizing others' property without consent. This is especially true when its gang related. I would have to disagree with how you feel about Banksy and Nike. I feel that Banksy can stay true to his work by working with Nike. Not only is he getting his art to more people who otherwise wouldn't see it, but he is making more money. I don't think this taints his image as a rebel in any way. To me, he is still doing the same work for the same reasons, a company is just hiring him to do more of it.
This article was a very interesting inside look at the world of graffiti, and its growing intersection with stencil art. Before reading this article I would honestly have to say I had not ever associated stencils with graffiti, and I hadn't thought too much about the ideas behind graffiti. I have always loved the particular aesthetic that graffiti possesses. It often exudes a "devil may care" feeling, that the artist loves his or her art so much that s/he must display it, no matter where that art ends up, be it on trains or under bridges. The art is of foremost importance in the Graffiti world, and its location is secondary. After reading this article I realize more strongly that the specific locations one finds graffiti exist not only because the artist cannot find another place to display their art, but because they want their Graffiti to be seen by as many people as possible and public places are best for this. I also think that the use of stencils only makes this mass distribution easier, however I have not gotten the feeling that real graffiti is moving anywhere near mainstream simply because it may be easier to produce in greater numbers. I do not really believe that stencils or even computer produced stencils will significantly influence Graffiti because there are so many graffiti artists that are drawn directly to the underground aspect of Graffiti culture. It would take much more to make them let go of that independent and very anti-mainstream culture.
I also never really thought about the ideas behind graffiti. Whenever I rode my rike under a bridge, I never stopped to look at the graffiti. I just always saw it as people writing their names to be cool or something; but now I know it's so much more than that. I also agree that artists want their work to be seen by as many people as possible- whether it may be to spread their message/image or to be seen by others to have their work put in a gallery. I also thought by having stencils it would be easier for the artist to put his/her artwork up in many places and in a faster amount of time, as well. I do agree with your statement that most artist will stick to what they've been doing and won't go with mainstream culture. However, I think over time artist will start to use more technology and/or stencils with their artwork. But in my opinion, either way the artwork will still be just as good.
This relatively new movement of using stencils for graffiti has lead me to think about the relationship with stencils and printmaking. I see stencils as an easier, faster, cheaper way to make “prints” in a sense. If you think about it, many street artists probably don’t have access to nice printmaking studios where they can screenprint their designs and mass produce them so stencils become the next best thing. The article talks about how some stencil artists are using the computer and I think that coincides with my idea. However, that is not to say that all are doing this. I do believe that some like the aesthetic or the idea of tagging a wall just because they can or the fact that they just want to get their name and designs out there for everyone to see. I do believe the aesthetics of street art is growing and I even have a friend who tags and creates his own stencils. I like how it is becoming more popular and well known and this most likely do to artists such as Banksy. Even though Banksy may be considered a sell out to some with his work for bands such as Blur and Radiohead, I respect the fact that he rejected Nike. To me Banksy reminds me of a new Andy Warhol in a sense (and this is especially scene in his Warhol-esque Kate Moss print).
I really liked your take on stencils and their place within a graffiti artist's arsenal. I feel like you are probably right about many graffiti artists not having access to a print making studio, and stencils are a great way to imitate print-making. When I read the article I wasn't sure why artists would use stencils, it just wasn't completely clear, but after reading everyone's comments and especially this one I can see why stencils would be extremely expedient, especially if they were made on the computer!
I think we have all been exposed to graffiti because let's face it, it is everywhere. Before reading this article I never even thought of it as a a real piece of art or that an artist with an idea or vision created his or her art on the wall I was looking at. Graffiti to me always seemed like something that people did when they were bored and wanted to vandilize something. But now, I see it as like the article said, "people exposing themselves and their brand". They are showing their art somewhere where everyone will see it and everyone will have their own opinion about it. The thought of graffiti makes me reference back to the short clip we watched in class 2 weeks ago with the artist that her and her husband go to the train tracks to grafitti the trains. I was amazed at how natural that came to them and what they can do with just a spray paint can.
I once thought graffiti was a way to vandalize society too, or a sort of escape for people to do something rebellious. It took a lot different styles of graffiti to convince me otherwise, that graffiti was a form of art instead of "they were just bored". Another aspect that made me think otherwise is the great use of graffiti on clothing. A lot of new fashion styles right now is the crazy, yet unique graffiti drawn and sprayed all over a shirt or on a pair of shoes. I have taken a liking to this new form of art through fashion.
I never understood the real meaning behind graffiti. Like many of us, I also thought it was just a thing kids would do when they were bored. I had never considered it a form of art until after I read this article. Graffiti seems to be the best way to display an artist's work, because they display their work in public locations for a much larger audience to see. However, being that it is vandalism, I think many people see it as trashy and disrespectful art, which I think really takes away the message the artist is trying to relay.
I find it interesting and very true that some graffiti is used as an "ego marking", where many graffiti artists have a purpose to "write their names or logo as many times in as many places as possible". I enjoy the fact that graffiti artists creatively manipulate cartoon-like drawings into something unique and unexpected. Seeing the stencil examples from this reading seemed so simple and yet, had so much meaning. It expressed so much without saying a thing. The world of graffiti is very similar to the world of zines, where there are no rules to create art and where simple things could mean so much more. However, there is a distinct difference between the two: graffiti is about getting their identities known and part of zine is about communicating to their audience. This sacred part of graffiti (labeling everything you make, yours) takes away the specialness because it, in a way, places a thin wall between the audience and artist, therefore there is a limited connection between the two. "While having a name attached to a stencil can clearly help boost an artist’s identity as well as help an audience connect one stencil to another, it also removes a layer of the playfulness and open-endedness that make non-political stencils so engaging." However, I always enjoy observing graffiti along the sides of the trains because I find them extremely inspiring: they are shown across the nation on a train without actually duplicating itself a million times. The use of stencil is just like print making, where it only uses one screen to make duplicate copies of the design.
I never knew there was so much to the graffiti world. For me, I have always thought of graffiti as a free hand piece of art done by a can of spray paint, flying by the seat of your pants kind of thing. Walking through Chicago you can still see some of that. The total graffiti world, I feel, hasn’t been taken over by stencils. That was always the cool thing to me, that someone can take a can of spray paint and make a great piece of art. Some of the pictures I’ve seen are just crazy good, and it’s so impressive. I think using the stencils takes away from the awe that graffiti can give. I can take a stencil and paint something on a wall, but I am in no way an artist by any means. Yes, the stencils do make it easier to get maximum exposure, but I feel you are trading a little piece of the free-spirited vibe old style graffiti has. It’s an art that has a connotation of being against the law, secretive, and kind of forbidden, since you are marking something that isn’t owned by you, and mass producing the images is going to take away how special it is.
I agree. I like the idea of free-hand (or can) graffiti as opposed to stencil art. It makes the image unique, and definitely more impressive. I agree with the secrecy thing you said too- it takes more guts to stick around and create an original artwork than to quick slap a stencil on a wall. As part of the graffiti-viewing public, I think I appreciate the free-hand style more.
When I look at graffiti its hard to imagine that someone just picked up a spray can and went to town and created this awesome image. I agree that some of the graffiti that I have seen is amazing and you wonder how they can do it so perfectly. When one makes graffiti they are doing it with just them and the spray can which is pretty much all them. With stencils added to the picture, it's not all them anymore. They are getting help, which isn't always a bad thing but it definitly takes away from the "Do it yourself" side of graffiti.
I think it's super cool that graffiti turned into stencil art. It's really awesome how wide spread things like that can become because they are so simple. The idea of Cost and Revs putting up their copies reminded me of the video we watched in class. Although Swoon's works were prints, not photo copies, they both still employed the same concept of exposing their work to a wide audience because it's on the street. In some sense, I feel like this type of work is more organic since the artist is doing it for a reason other than money.
Really interesting read. Again, it touched on how an artist turned down Nike to keep his street cred (and deny buckets of cash). I think it is funny how some of these artists used stencils to mass produce an image or their name or brand and plaster it all over the world in millions of numbers. They basically were marketing themselves and getting their names out there whether they were trying to or not. Then when a company like Nike noticed and offered them a deal, they turned it down. Why? I have no clue. I would have to say that straight graffiti is probably more cool than stencils, but then again, I haven't really seen any stencil graffiti except for what the article has.
Like a lot of people, I wondered why graffiti/stencil artists would attach their names to their work. After reading the article, I still don't know much about the graffiti community, so I don't know exactly how important having credibility and knowing the identity of an artists is. I agree with the part that says attaching names to these pieces "removes a layer of the playfulness and open-endedness that make non-political stencils so engaging." To me, it would be fun to just see graffiti and wonder about the artist, and maybe try to connect pieces on my own. I think that would be fun as an artist too, to have that kind of anonymity in such a public display of art.
I agree with you. It would be very fun and interesting connecting the graffiti pieces. I remember watching a documentary video on graffiti artists, and the artists said that the "tag names" are very important for themselves and they consider it as a "second identity". I think the reason they attach their names on their works is simply because they want to acknoledge their names to the audience, just how fine artists usually sign their names on the ther works.
I thought that the article was a little confusing. It kind of gave off this vibe that graffiti was evolving into stenciling and I don't think that is the case at all. Stenciling may be a graffiti-inspired movement that crosses paths with graffiti a lot, but I don't think it's replacing it, especially on the main stream level.
The connection to Shepard Fairey was another confusing point. The author made it seem as if he was a catalyst in the graffiti community when the concept of "getting up" and all that business had solidified years before he came around...and even then a lot of graffiti writers thought he was some kind of traitor to graffiti, someone who couldn't cut it as a "writer." I could go on but I'll spare you.
I'm sorry I had to get all passive-and-unnoticed-appreciator-of-street-art-gone-snob on you! I really am not serious about much.
I agree that the article gives the reader the notion that graffiti was being taken over by stencil art. I think what they were trying to communicate, but did not effectively do, was that street stencil art was inspired by street graffiti. I think it's a harder concept to grasp because when you go places around the city you see graffiti, not stencil art like you would, say, maybe out east in New York. If we were more exposed to it in the Mid-West, I'm sure we would see more similarities in it as opposed to mostly being exposed to graffiti.
This article was very interesting to me. A few years ago, I was really into graffiti and remember buying a book from urban outfitters that was full of images of graffiti works. The pictures in this book were just beautiful. I think a lot of people still think graffiti as a type of unsophisticated, messy art. However, there are many artists out there these days trying to change this perception. 2 weeks ago, I brought in a cap to class, which was graffiti work. I remember when buying this hat, the artist told me that he really wants to create an online store that sells graffiti tees and accessories so that it becomes big in the fashion industry. I believe graffiti is slowly evolving into a form of accessible art and hope one day, it will be appreciated by a larger audience than now.
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