Oakland, 2013 is one of the most “tagged” cities in the USofA and seems completely unapolegitic about that fact. You might say there is a distaste for the act of vandalism but a silent appreciation of the most graphically complex, colorfully uplifting and the unspoken choice of expression of artist without a voice.
The artist Banksy has changed the game in urban art. He has sold his work for millions, people comb the streets of NY looking for his latest installment and hope to catch a glimpse of this successful vandal. He and his stencils are blatently committing a crime for which others have been prosecuted. Good for him that crafty little marketing genius.
Besides the obvious, it struck me unexpectedly, this art form creates jobs and is good or even great for America. Let’s look at the reasons why:
First, the companies that produce and sell the paint. These artist are not buying their weapon of choice wholesale. They are buying it from locked paint cages at Home Depot, Michael’s, art stores, where ever sells spray paint. That alone at 3-6 dollars a can in any business model is a win!
Next it rolls to the manufacturing of all this cans. It takes extruders to create the can, the mixing of the paints, the distribution stream, packers, unpackers, graphic designers, sales people. This median does not just materialize at the the will of the artist.
Then we roll into the civic roll of graffiti. Every town official loathes it; starts a campaign to “clean up this city”, to replace the works of the people with placards glued to the wall promoting the next big event in a civic center. To me that is just as offensive. But with that aside, think of the city worker on the graffiti abatement crews with families and hungry mouths to feed. If we rid the city of the plight of amateur art work, someone, I can guarantee, will lose their job.
So graffiti creates jobs and adds to the fiscal bottom-line in every community. In any business plan and any city, this is good.
If the cities and its elected officials were really serious in removing graffiti, they would work harder on fixing the communities and the social dynamics that fuel this vandalism , get the abandoned buildings filled and better the communities that this harmless act of expression so loudly points out.
I think most of graffiti is pretty great. Sure there is the slacker taggers that just spray on a wall like a dog pisses on a tree but there are some really amazing talents out there, wanting to be heard. Ask Banksy when you see him.
If you don’t agree with me, just…
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