20 Jan The art of the graffiti tag
A case could be made that some graffiti tagging should be considered an art form.
First you need to understand the difference between tagging and graffiti in general.
In this case let’s assume ‘good graffiti art’ is the act of making a complex beautiful mural or word art in a public place. Something that adds to the environment in which it sits. Whether that be to add a splash of colour to a drab factory wall or tell a local story much like the Caves of Lascaux.
Bad graffiti is tagging in general. Taggers motives are no more complex than a 2 year old child that hasn’t learnt to share yet. They tag a wall to ‘own’ it. And they form allegiences with other taggers to own walls in other neighbourhoods thereby start a tagging turf war with a neighbouring bunch of ‘writers’. Complexity and skill is shown when a tagger places their tag in a hard-to-reach location.
Another level can be attained if the tagger’s skill starts showing signs of them dipping their toes into understanding the world of calligraphy and/or typography. I walk my neighbourhoods looking at all the scrawls on the walls and I can identify those taggers who I think will probably go on to do something in the creative arts.
Using the principals and elements of design you can quickly see if the writer has an intuitive understanding of balance and hierarchy and shape etc.
Realistically, I wish they didn’t do it. It really does ruin the streets. If they were placing little nuggets of art to be discovered it would be a different story. Maybe the should try writing some poems or something. Until then I will continue to take photos, analyse and publicly ridicule.