Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In case no one has noticed, and I'm sure everybody has, there seems to be a trend/movement/explosion in creativity at a pavement level.

I've just had an email exchange with Tom Wegener, with part of its thrust being the amount of work done for love or exploration. In his case, and mine, it is the surfing world, be it making alaia's, making surfing movies, or doing this... writing.

To survive though, Tom has the joy of falling back on his finned boards to supplement the historic explorations. I do mean historic in both senses of the word, too. As Tom studies history he is making it, the past informing the present, creating an unlikely, surprising, future.

For me, advertising work is it, though that avenue seems as dry as a witch's tit.. if you'll excuse my french.

Paying the bills is an issue that won't go away.

Still we persist, I get more joy out of this blog than I ever did out of my career industry. The friends I've made, real or imagined, have more to give, with very dear exceptions. As I found out on my trip this time last year to the US, when you get there the people are real, they're not just one's and zero's but delightful flesh and blood.

All trying to do something beyond the grind, beyond their little patch, or in spite of it.

And so to those who do something within their patch, but under cover of darkness.

A few months back I went on a photo jaunt through the lanes of Melbourne, looking at the graffiti, trying to get my head round the whole thing. Having watched it in a cursory way since the early seventies when the wall scrawlings of choice were either political or sexual, the explosion today I find fascinating, infuriating and beautiful, all at the same time.

The infuriating is the indiscriminate, rubbish tagger, notably when it's on my front fence, which in principle is vandalism... and when I lose all the skin of one hand using the graffiti remover without gloves.

But then you see one tag wittily put up, and the wry smile surfaces, despite myself.

The fascinating and beautiful part, though, is a personal thing, and time needs to be taken to see it.
It helps to take shots and make your own assessments later. I did, and today, months after taking the shots, I had a look and saw things I'd missed before. There's an archaeology of graffiti emerging as over the years the tags, paste ups and pieces of artist's past become icons, as long as some new kid on the block with no knowledge of what has gone before doesn't tag over the top of a bit of brilliance.

These are some shots from a couple of the lanes of Melbourne.
I kind of love this stuff, and every time you go back you find something new. An evolving social phenomenon that is going to have to be accommodated as it will not go away, clearly, despite the fact that the powers that be have now, here, decided to make it a lockup offense to be found carrying.. 'the tools of trade'.


Eef said...

i love the raw street stuff: stickers, paint etc! Nice shots Mick!


Jamie Watson said...

I like this post, Mick.

NiegĂ  said...

Well said Mick!! Being able to find solace in our own creativity is the key to forget the things we have to do to pay the bills!


tres_arboles said...

Great post as always Mick. Mom was an art history prof and did her last bit of academic work in at the end of the 1970's when b-boying, hip-hop, and graffiti were full-on craze in NYC. As an academic, she always argued for a place for graffiti in the art world (no elitist, she). I always enjoyed much of the mural-work on the NYC subway system car.

Then I moved to SoCal and started to connect tagging to gangsterism and street violence and I was shaken. Unless we can differentiate graffiti and tagging, tagging dooms graffiti.

Sorry for your fence, but good on your search. Take a look at my profile piccy for an example of a great wall in Seattle, USA I found last year when doing somewhat of the same thing. I have more of that wall if you're interested.



Burnsie said...

Hey Mick,

I love your blog. Seems to be a trend that all the best blogs are coming from Oz. Tom Wegner was over here a couple of weeks ago a real gentleman and happy to share. The got some pretty good waves too.

As for graffiti, its not really done over here (Ireland) I don't know whether thats a good thing or a bad thing. We tend to express through music and theatre. Though visual arts seems to be having a grass roots revolution. We had a local arts event in a friends place recently,including roasting pig and fire belly dancers late into the night and I was blown away by the quality of the work being done. Really inspiring stuff.

When I lived in St Kilda in the 80's I was friends with an artist called Doug Stubbs. We had long conversations on the meaning of art. Life changing.

nursemyra said...

some of the best graffiti in Sydney is in Newtown. come have a look when you're next in town Mick

Foulweather... said...

Excellent post, Mick. Keep it up.

pushingtide said...

What everyone said.

Toddy said...

Super great.