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Wednesday 27 October 2010



File:Bethlehem Wall Graffiti 1.jpg

Graffiti by Banksy, Bethlehem: photo by Pawel Ryszawa, 2008

File:The Cat.jpg

Stencil by Banksy, City Road, London: photo by LoopZilla, 2005


Stencil by Banksy at waterline on social entertainment boat Thekla, central Bristol, England: photo by Adrian Pingstone, 2005

File:Bullfighting advertisement Graffited Leganes 2005-08-12.jpg

Anti-bullfighting inscriptions on bullfight advertisement, Leganés, Spain: photo by Juan Garcia, 2005


Street art, Barcelona: photo by Mujinga, 2004

File:BrokenPromises JohnFekner.jpg

Urban decay: Falsas Promesas/Broken Promises; Charlotte Street stencils by John Fekner, South Bronx, New York: photo by John Fekner, 1980


Stencil by John Fekner, New York: photo by John Fekner, 2007


Toxic by John Fekner, Long Island Expressway, Queens, New York: photo by John Fekner, 2007

File:Graffiti politique de Pompei.jpg

Ancient Pompeii satiric graffito caricaturing a politician, found in the atrium of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii
: photo by Vincent Ramos, 2004

Catalog Number: HPC-000158
The Juan de Onate Inscription at El Morro National Monumemt, New Mexico, dated 1605. It is the oldest historical inscription at El Morro. (Shows vandalism to the inscription almost from the day it was inscribed). Inscription text: "paso por aq[u]i el adelantado don ju/an oñate del descubrimiento de la/ mar del sur/ a 16 de Abril del 1605". At left: "Casados/1727" and "J[ose?]parelo". At right: "P. Joseph de la Candelaria". Photo by George M. Grant, 1934 (National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection)

File:Jesus graffito.jpg

Second century pagan graffito preserved at Palatine Hill museum, Rome, depicting a man worshiping a crucified donkey. Inscription text: ΑΛΕΞΑΜΕΝΟΣ (ΑΛΕΞΑΜΕΝΟC) ("Alexamenos respects God")
: image by Tablar, 2005


gamefaced said...

very nice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with gamefaced. These are each and all extraordinary and so is the simple, powerful and accurate title. I will remember them all night, into tomorrow and after that. Thank you -- this is a real gift that I plan on sharing.

TC said...

Thank you guys, very much.

Public art is as old as the caves, yet hasn't ever gotten old...

(Wish all of us could say as much...)

Anonymous said...

And what's great is that these works are all genuinely public, not pseudo-public, as if intended to appear in an art magazine or biennial exhibition. The Pompeiian graffito is really unbelievable, but really, so are they all.



Ah, very cool, "excellent" indeed. . . .


grey whiteness of clouds above shadowed
ridge, golden-crowned sparrow’s oh dear
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

how they were to him, forms
in and of composition

for instance, point of work,
color beyond which is

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
whiteness of moon in cloudless blue sky

Anonymous said...

Yes, very nice.

In addition to his commentary Banksy's a damn good artist. More than can be said of everyone

TC said...

Curtis, Steve,

Yes, yes.


Couldn't agree more about the quality distinction. Art should provoke thought.

You may have seen this interesting compendium of Banksy's work:

Banksy Locations & Tours.

It's always too bad when anything gets so very famous. But Banksy seems to have handled it all quite adroitly, doing a fair job of remaining visible and invisible at the same time.

By the by, loitering without intent on the Avenue lately, as one might in the scrub bush of the Pleistocene, I observed a temporary wall of plywood go up over a building facade in construction. How long, I wondered, will that stay clean? It's a zombie neighbourhood...

Two nights ago a crew from Oakland showed up to hit the wall. 'Twas interesting to watch the work. Intensive, concentrated, overwhelming (the spray fumes, and I was already ill...). The artists said they'd been interrogated by police four times the first night ("somebody called in on us"), but so far so good. Temporary is the name of this game.

Three guys working swiftly as a loose collective, each with a section of wall to make his own. A certain group rhythm, portable MP3 beats. Occasional step-back views of the overall work, one scene eliding into the next. Earth tones, then cool blue-greens, then bright yellow arrowing vectors. Energy in motion. Instinctive. Traffic streaming past.

No monetization. No tourists. Yet.

I asked one of the fellows if he was familiar with the work of Banksy, John Fekner and some other noted artists in this area. I immediately felt foolish. It was a bit like asking a young poet if he or she had heard of Shakespeare.

Of course, he said politely.

I also asked if they were in the habit of looking at the internet.

No, they said.

And here I had thought of blogging as a form of graffiti!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I am interested. Thanks, Tom. I forgot to check back on these comments.

I'd love to watch a group of people doing a graffiti job. I never have, and there isn't much of it where I live now, obviously. It must be very dispiriting to have it destroyed by the authorities.

TC said...


Well, you may not have street wall murals where you are... but then, we don't have goats, hens, et al.

(Give the choice between street and farm, I'd probably opt for the goats.)

I must confess that I became so interested in the process that I very foolishly inhaled enough paint fumes in two nights of observing the work to send me back to bed for three days (currently on antibiotics, struggling to overcome a nasty bout of pneumonia).

I drifted past there again on the night of that very curious pseudo-holiday hallowe'en, and was pleasantly surprised to see that not only is the mural still up, but the nocturnal muralists have returned in the interim, and elaborated the work considerably. What I had earlier seen was now the underpainting. Atop it, figuration had occurred: several large cartoon figures (Spiderman, etc.), all quite carefully done. The motif had now become spooks, smashed pumpkins, and so on, in honour of the pseudo-holiday. I was taken aback by the thought that what had seemed a flowing, free-form work may well actually have been designed, in a cunning strategy (?).

It was a bit of a relief to see a couple of used surgical masks the artists had left behind, evidence that they had heeded the helpful advice of the one-woman "support crew" who, on my previous visit, had gone off to a pharmacy and returned with the protective masks. At that time the artists appeared to scorn these... but obviously reason had intervened, during my absence.

In any case, as I say, it's still up there, and is quite impressive as such. Though of course it may be gone tomorrow. As indeed, of course, may we all.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Yes, we may. But we have to be prepared just in case we're not.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm very sorry to hear about the pneumonia. One advantage of being a poet (rather than, say, a painter) is being able to work lying down, but ideally I'm sure you'd rather be up.

TC said...

Well, I've been trying down... then up... then again down... with approximately equal success.

That is, not much.

'Tis my third dose of this in a decade.

This one came in the aftermath of our great adventure in house demolition and reconstruction. Re-framing, removal of a century's worth of dry rot, re-assembly, gutters (or spouts, as the Ozzies call 'em), hot-process bitumen, the works.

World War III, except that you are paying to be attacked.

The only people here who do this kind of work in our approximate price range are non-union non-English speaking hombres. And they worked, and worked, and worked...

Two sleepless weeks during the house mayhem, then the flu, and then came the lung fluid, on cue.

The doctor at the common people's clinic said, "You've had the pneumovax, right?"

I said, "Well, I've been coming here for ten years, and had pneumonia twice before, and nobody ever told me there was such a thing as a pneumovax."

He said: "..."

Next patient, please.

(But it is indeed pleasant to have whatever it is one does described as work.)

Carmenisacat said...

You would love Bisbee...lots of this around.

TC said...

Bisbee, yes. I want to be there. Right now.