Sunday, June 01, 2008
The ugliness of freestyle tagging is increasingly taking a back seat to stencil graffiti.
Under the influence of the U.K.'s great stencil artist Banksy, stencil graffiti has become a major influence in public art in the world's more cosmopolitan cities. Not all of it is great, or even good, but a surprising amount of it is very high quality.
In this city most of the stencil graffiti is executed on the sidewalks rather than private buildings. This puts it squarely into the realm of public art, as opposed to vandalism. But even though it's more polite than tagging, it expresses an anti-authoritarian, outsider aesthetic. As such, it is revolutionary.
Other traits of the revolution to come include anonymity, the uncompensated production of free art, goods, and services, a tendency to use hit-and-run tactics rather than prolonged confrontation with the powers that be, and humor, especially satire and sardonic ridicule.