I’ve been thinking about where to push my project. I’m undergoing a cyclical process of chasing the shiny object. I could be ‘iterating’ on an idea that started out rough. I knew I wasn’t going to be making a project for graffiti artists. My initial drive was to focus on a demographic that I felt was personally interesting. I always knew I was going to allocate my attention to the problems that were larger in scope.
Graffiti artists appreciate the ability to silence their online presence. They also like to be able to publicly display the works they create. More appropriately, they like to prevent the consequence of their work. They want to create, share, and distribute without the legal consequences of impeding on existing public property rights. This is understandable.
I have a hypothesis about graffiti artists. If they are like the writers I have known (I use the term writers to refer to graffiti artists and not writers in the traditional sense). Writers are attuned to the quality of another writers work. They either know and appreciate another writer or completely ignore them. At the point that a writer gets on another writers radar, they are going to stick out everywhere they go. This is my experience.
The more places I go, the more I recognize graffiti artists in different places. I started out recognizing artists from the Bay Area in the Los Angeles county area. When I moved to Shanghai, I was surprised to see well known international artists who made their mark. Of course, being in New York, I see artists from around the world. The times have changed and graffiti is painted over to prevent decline in real estate value.
This is not to say that all graffiti is bad for real estate. If we look back to the Banksy visit in New York, we can see a clear example of perceived value. Properties in the UK and other parts of the world skyrocket in value when ‘marked’ by Banksy. When art gets painted over, its not just a shame for the artist, but in some cases the property owner as well.
Graffiti artists value intimacy. They value the network of awareness that stems from the shared interest in getting ‘up’. I think this close network of likeminded individuals is a modern day rarity. There are many platforms for accessing communities of people who are likeminded. These feel too transactional for my taste. The organizers and the individuals who partake in presenting at meetups are surely a close knit group. The attendees are not.
I believe there is a place for conscious content sharing. I want to know who sees what I share. I want to have control of that aspect. Almost like a google doc, in its privacy and sharing privileges.