It’s a common city problem to have graffiti spread across many inner-city as well as suburban locations these days. Whether it’s a desire to free some self-expression or ‘rage-against-the-machine’, the recipients of the tags i.e. building owners and tenants, often see it as a real nuisance, ‘visual pollution’ and down-right vandalism. “What makes someone think that I want to look at that scrawl of spray paint across my boundary wall?!” It’s time-consuming trying to sort it out – calling out police, cleaning up the mess with special ‘graffiti-removing kits’ and rather expensive too.
In Perth, there seems to be a particularly large problem for the size of the population and the city has resorted to a planned police anti-graffiti operation to try and clean up the streets a bit. Unfortunately, it’s resulted in a disaster where an artist’s own mural on his own wall has been painted over by the council workers – whoops!
Stormie Mills’ Mural recently painted over by council workers – Photo by David Hutson
Read more about Stormie Mill’s story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-08/stormie-mills-mural-mistakenly-painted-over/5439086
The reasons why people engage in graffiti spraying, range from boredom to rebellion and falling in with the wrong crowd, I guess. Very often the reparations and restoring of damaged walls to their former appearance simply results in retagging in a couple of weeks or months, making it all seem a little futile in trying to stem the graffiti tide. What’s interesting though is what’s been happening in some areas where there’s traditionally been a lot of graffiti tagging and instead of simply repainting, they’ve commissioned an artist to paint a mural instead. Remarkably, there has been a substantial reduction, if not complete cessation, in graffiti tags and the whole environment has benefitted from having a fantastic piece of art on display for everyone to see. I guess it’s a little bit of showing respect to fellow artists.
Photo of the mural by Martin E. Wills in Jack Marks Lane, Mount Lawley, Perth – Photo from ABC Perth
See more about this story here http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2014/02/06/3939652.htm
I guess offering up urban spaces for people to express themselves may help in providing an outlet for that expression and hopefully encourage their creativity and developing something of beauty or initiating conversation in the people living in that environment. Certainly the artwork created during the Perth urban art festival, Public, has done just that – take a look at what they’ve been up to!
Mural by Phlegm, artistic duo, in Perth at Public – Photo from ABC Perth