Urban Décor Pt 2... Artist vs Criminal

After publishing Urban Décor part 1 on Monday I was interested to see the reaction from the Redbubble community on the subject of urban art. To be honest I was expecting a mixed reaction because this form of art has many guises, some of which have a habit of pissing people off… tagging being one of them. This side of graffiti is the hardest to justify, something even I would struggle to do… not that I would want to anyway!

Personally I am not even going to get involved in the debate because I can see both sides of the story and both are as valid as each other… in reality your opinions will probably be individual and varied and will be based on your personal experiences, good or bad. My own experiences have been both negative and positive and I’m pretty open minded on the subject, so I can understand the mixed reactions that some of the images I produce may cause.

Some people will say tagging causes distress and is just blatant vandalism created by bored jobless youths with no respect for the property of others. Others will say it has been around for as long as the human race has been able to express itself through painting and (in some cases) can even brighten up the ugliest of human creations. Whatever your opinion in a free society such as the UK’s it is not going to disappear anytime soon. This is because to truly stop it we would need to take drastic measures that would not sit comfortably in our so called ‘free society’.

However, as a photographer I like to document a street scene that I’ve found and I see beauty in. As I primarily photograph natural street scenes in urban areas urban art/vandalism is often a major feature of my work. This is because to me it is such and intriguing and powerful form of artist expression completely without censure that can reach and effect anybody or any age. I am intrigued as to the thought processes that go into designing tags and what they tell you about the artist/criminal that has created it.

My intention with these is not to express my personal opinion, instead just to document a scene I think is beautiful and to show it in context with its surroundings. The fact these scenes are dynamic and constantly changing as more graffiti/urban art/tags gives me confidence that recording them is an important thing to do. In fact many of the scenes I have shot in my portfolio have been whitewash or replaced, something that makes me feel justified in spending the many days trawling the streets looking for them.

Ben AKA Redtempa

Journal Comments

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