Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Olympics v Graffiti

With the worlds eyes soon to be fixed on London for the Olympics, it's no wonder that the city wants to look it's best. Streets want to be clean and sparkly, the tube needs to run on time and the security of the city needs to be paramount. But part of me feels like many other things, for example the everyday lives of Londoners who must find alternative transport or not leave their house for the duration of the games, are being overlooked. 

This article, was forwarded to me by the boyfriend and while I blindly thought "oh no not another article about graffiti I have to read" I am glad I took the time. 

I will now digress for a moment to give you a little back story; I met my now boyfriend of nearly 8 years while he was painting graffiti at a youth centre in our local area. When we met I knew nothing about graffiti but over the years he has "educated" me about this writer, this style and I even pick his colour schemes. I have seen first hand the good he has done through graffiti workshops with young people at said youth centre and while a lot of graffiti I feel is just a horrible scribble, I have such a great appreciation for the proper stuff that I would even go as far as to call some of it art. And no I am not talking about the Banksy stencils [please dont start the boyfriend off about stencil "artists"] I am talking about artists, graphic designers and illustrators who use spray cans to create something quite beautiful. 

So back to the point. As I read the article I felt my blood boiling just a little and while you may think this article is just something from a graffiti related blog, if the New Statesmen decides its a newsworthy item there is no room to disagree! 


The basic outline of the article is this; with London so concerned about offering up a sparkly clean image during the Olympics, councils have been a bit more active in the removal of graffiti and police seem to be cracking down on graffiti artists in a big way. But when BTP [British Transport Police] raid the houses of graffiti artists who retired from the scene, some of whom haven't painted illegal graffiti for 15 years, it seems the system is working on prevention rather than punishment. 

Arresting someone who hasn't been involved in graffiti for years, has a family, a job and respectable life and prohibiting them for using London transport or being within a certain distance of a multiple Olympic areas across the city, is in my eyes, taking advantage of the system. How you can you justify punishing someone for something they may or may not do. 

Targeting artists who retired from the scene a long time ago doesn't make sense. Why not target those who are currently active in the illegal graffiti scene, those who cause criminal damage and those how scribble over trains, walls and buses across the city. 

Now lets get one thing straight I am not a graffiti activist or anything; I hate tags and meaningless scribbles on walls and anything ugly or offensive. But good graffiti makes the city a better place. It brings life to the streets and adds something to London that you dont find every where. I love the culture and art London has to offer and for that matter the variety.

While I will always be a London girl at heart and love the diversity of the city, instances like this remind me of the stupidity London offers.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds wrong to me what you are describing ): (to arrest someone for something they were involved in 15 years ago). Thanks for bringing this up!

    Style by Joanne


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