A Conversation for The Four Elements of Hip Hop

Tags aren't art

Post 1

Titania and Ripley the unau

There is no way you'll convince me that scribbling pseudonyms all over trains, house walls, signs etc. is ART! I'm referring to the name tags that are just in plain writing, not those with 3D-effects, in various colours, and different often imaginative fonts... (but then, maybe those aren't called tags?)


Tags aren't art

Post 2

Great Ceasers Ghost

What if the tag says 'Doler' or 'Mugabe!!!!'?


Tags aren't art

Post 3

Gubernatrix

Technically, such tags come under the term 'graffiti art'. Whether it is art in the philosophical sense is subjective, and applies to many other creative works (many people think that Tracy Emin's work is not 'art', for example).

Graffiti artists themselves are often very disparaging of the marker-pen tags you are referring to. These are allowed as part of the learning process to develop your own style. But if you don't progress onto more detailed work, you will be regarded as a 'toy' - an incompetent writer.

But the influence of these tag styles has moved into design - particularly in the world of fashion, where the most prevalent example is probably Stussy, whose logo is a tag-style rendition of the brand name. So I think it can be said that there is now artistic value even in simple tags.


Tags aren't art

Post 4

Great Ceasers Ghost

Surely all wall spraying is the reserve of lowbrow trend-cretins, and not worth a sniff of anyone's time or consideration?

Whats wrong with a paint brush?

Graffiti is gaudy nonsense that morons push on those who don't want to see it. If these people had any talent, they would get a legitimate display. As it is, anyone with a spraycan considers himself Raphael with an agit-political edge.


Tags aren't art

Post 5

Rt. Rev. Lesley Gentle

Philistine! There is art in everything except the erect male member.

Do you not see the beauty in the term 'No War' daubed in black paint on the side of a Rainbow Club bus? A delicate and delicious irony exposing the uneasy duality existing between current Foreign Policy and the behaviour of the Home Secretary. It also hints at the absurdities of racial conflict too.

I believe the piece was exhibited by Sene Bethrebah at the Tate Modern earlier this summer to public outcry by traditionalist morons and the sun who believe art equals watercolours of bowls of fruit.


Tags aren't art

Post 6

Uncle Heavy [sic]

course its art. just cos you dont like it doesnt make it artistic. it may not have much artistic merit, but its still an someone expressing themselves aestheitcally.


Tags aren't art

Post 7

Titania and Ripley the unau

I scribble my signature (not full name) on dozens of papers every day (book keeping, nothing exciting there) - do you seriously mean that if I were to scribble it on a wall or the side of a train (or on the inside of a train) instead of on a piece of paper, it would make it 'aesthetical' and 'art'?


Tags aren't art

Post 8

Uncle Heavy [sic]

if you were trying to express some kind of sentiment that you wanted other people to feel with it, yes.

your signiature is just that: a legal mark that expresses your desire to have something done. its not art, because you arent making a statement about anything, its a simple agreement.

a tag, on the other hand, can be seen to express all kinds of thing, conscious or unconscious. it could be simply to show off the handiwork of the artist, or it could be an expression of urban dissatisfaction and a feeling of impotence at the lack of opportunities in the surrounds. it represents the frustration of its creator. it is a statement thatis being made *about* something. just because it doesnt conform to your sense of what is aesthetically pleasing, doesnt make it not art.

as with everything, there is good and bad. a simple scrawl is a very crude and not artistic piece of art. but the more talented taggers actually invest a lot of time and creativity into their chosen artform, and create something that appeals to people. i love travelling on trains in germany, for instance, and switzerland. the graffiti on the railside is awesome, and appeals to me in a way that, say, staid and inept pictures of a pale, chubby virgin mary that may hang in the more boring sections of art galleries.


Tags aren't art

Post 9

Titania and Ripley the unau

I did mention in my first posting that I was referring to tags in 'plain' writing...

...and I don't see the art in thoughtless teenagers declaring war with public transport companies, or house owners, or factory owners...

There's a one-storey building I see every day from the commuter train - they manufacture something that I can't remember exactly right now (but it's nothing controversial), and the entire area is surrounded by a fence, and the building is lit up day and night...

...and a couple of times each week these kids break into the area, distroy the wall facing the railroad (of course) by scribbling it full of signatures - and not very artful ones - and every week the owner paints it over - and this happens again and again and again - where's the art in that?

And I bet if you were to ask one of the kids, he'd say 'because it's a challenge!' or something equally stupid, just like those kids who climb up onto to roof of railroad wagons each year and then get killed by the voltage...


Tags aren't art

Post 10

Titania and Ripley the unau

'onto *the* roof' and 'high voltage'...smiley - doh


Tags aren't art

Post 11

Uncle Heavy [sic]

thats the unconscious reflection of the futurelessness of their surroundings.

anyway, when whatshisface refers to tagging, i think he is referring more to the latter stages rather than the early bits. still, its a form of expression, however primitive it is.


Tags aren't art

Post 12

Gubernatrix

>>...and a couple of times each week these kids break into the area, distroy the wall facing the railroad (of course) by scribbling it full of signatures - and not very artful ones - and every week the owner paints it over - and this happens again and again and again - where's the art in that?

Obviously you don't see it - that doesn't mean it isn't there. It could be vandalism. It is also possible that a very strong communication is being made, a very personal creative expression is contained within that tag. I'm not sure how scribbling with a flowmaster on a wall "destroys" it, however. A lot of people might say that it makes the wall more interesting. After all, what's aesthetically pleasing about a wall facing a railroad?

There's a wall down the road from where I live which is constantly being scribbled on by infatuated teenagers. Every few weeks the owner repaints it, only to have it covered again in a matter of hours. It has become a ritual, a landmark, tourists can be seen snapping photos of it after proudly inscribing their own name.

It's the front wall of Abbey Road Studios in northwest London.

What is the difference between that and your railroad wall?


Tags aren't art

Post 13

Gubernatrix

whatshisface????????

If you mean the author of this entry, I'm a girl!

Gubernatrix


Tags aren't art

Post 14

Uncle Heavy [sic]

sorry! chauvinist pig that i am smiley - winkeye

i should have noticed the '-ix' bit smiley - smiley


Tags aren't art

Post 15

Gubernatrix

Honestly! Not knowing that 'Gubernatrix' is a feminine singular third declension occupational noun!

What do they teach kids these days?


Tags aren't art

Post 16

Caine the Wayward

like hell they arent. there are magazines devoted to this stuff that these guys put out. many of these artists are more talented than any "proper" artist will ever be. why? many make entire pictures on a wall with a spray paint over night. why is this so amazing? because A) many of these murals are the size of train cars if not larger. B) the artists will take a single word in the center of the mural, no matter what it looks like, and make entire pictures from it. now many people say "Well jsut writing your name on the side of a building or train car in plain paint is trash." well you have to think of it not as jsut a name, but an unfinished canvas that the artist will have to come back to. VanGoh was pronounced "Crap" until he was long dead. appreciate what is there for what it is, not what it seems to be.


Tags aren't art

Post 17

Titania and Ripley the unau

What the kids scribbling all over the factory wall don't realize is that:

By breaking into the area, they also make it easier for thieves to get into the area - thieves that may cause a lot more damage than the kids

The owner may want his company to look proper to attract clients/investors visiting - if they see how poor care the company takes of its property, they might think it doesn't take much care about business either

Painting a wall of that size costs money - lots of money in the long run, maybe leading to the owner cutting down on staff - maybe even the parents of one or more of the kids that caused it - but would this kids think of that? Oh no... youngsters can be so thoughtless and so careless about the future it sometimes scares me


Tags aren't art

Post 18

Gubernatrix

>>... youngsters can be so thoughtless and so careless about the future it sometimes scares me

...especially if they don't have much of a future. So who's going to teach them any different, if not us (the community)?

Youngsters are largely treated like kids, instead of young adults. People lie to them, companies exploit them, schools are too cash-strapped to provide any kind of creative outlet (like a wall where they can do graffiti with impunity) and education is getting more expensive. Kids are bombarded with products and advertising and aspirational lifestyles. They live in areas where a sense of community and responsibility has broken down.

I'm not just talking about run-down housing estates either - the same can be said of some of our suburbs and small towns.

A lot of kids try to test the law at some point - it's a rite of passage thing. I've done it myself. The big mistake is to assume that kids who scribble on walls will end up carrying guns and dealing drugs. That's like the lie that marijuana leads to heroin. It's simply not true for a lot of people, and its a potentially damaging attitude for a community to have.


Tags aren't art

Post 19

Rt. Rev. Lesley Gentle

I tried to buy some weed last night out but the shop had sold out and only had smack left, so I bought loads of it and I am ow an addict. I am going to sell my story to the daily mail.


Tags aren't art

Post 20

Gubernatrix

Cool - if you're lucky you'll get featured in a Channel 4 documentary.


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