It’s life’s illusions I recall.
I really don’t know life at all.
–From Mitchell and Both Sides Now
|Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway | Shields Boulevard | Oklahoma City | The trains take a beating|
There’s a popular blog meme that dominates the blogosphere every Wednesday. It’s called Wordless Wednesday and it consists of posts that feature just one image. Bloggers far and wide use it as a way to take a mid-week break from content creation and content marketing. It keeps search engines crawling these sites and probably helps with a variety of other analytics, too.
Although I enjoy it on many of the blogs I visit, I’ve never really gotten into Wordless Wednesday. However, since I’ve started documenting graffiti across Oklahoma and doing research about it and street art as part of my work in government and the arts, I thought my own version might be in order, Graffiti Wednesday.
Graffiti and Economic Opportunities
Graffiti has been around for centuries and it’s here to stay, right along with its second cousin, street art. Although the full wave of both have not yet hit Oklahoma, I can see it cresting from London and Paris, New York and L.A. It will no doubt wreak havoc on communities. Cleaning up graffiti is very expensive. It hits the pocketbooks of taxpayers and private businesses equally as hard.
But, for the most creative and innovative communities, graffiti and street art represent economic opportunities like nothing any of us imagined possible with something that is illegal and even criminal. Acceptance of this notion can only come with a greater understanding of graffiti, graffiti artists and particularly street art. The latter is a nondestructive, impermanent form of graffiti that includes things like video projection, street installation and yarn bombing. I find it delightful and brilliant; oxygen for the creative economy.
Graffiti, Street Art E-Book
I have many irons in the fire and so many things demanding my attention with work, but I’m hoping by fall I will have completed an eBook about graffiti and street art. I am learning a lot through this project. I’m learning that snap judgements can last for decades. I’m learning that I may have some of the answers, but I may not have the most important ones because I’m narrow minded and don’t ask the right questions.
I’m learning to be open-minded, less dismissive and more inventive. And, I’m starting to believe (not that I didn’t before) what the Chinese have always known. In crisis there is opportunity.
As I’ve explained in previous posts, there is a big difference between gang taggers and freelance graffitists, even if there is little or no legal distinction between their activities. While I don’t condone vandalism, I believe graffiti and street art are legitimate art forms. They represent art that is not collectible; art that cannot be contained on gallery walls; art that is free to view and almost impossible to buy.