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Absolutely, the vast majority of graffiti just looks like total garbage, and is not an artistic endeavor so much as "Hey dudes look what I scribbled my name on!"


The Olympics coming to Belfast, maybe?

Vicki Brown

Perhaps it's like when they play a completely awful song on the top playlist on the radio so you hear it at least 4000 times a day (or so it feels) until eventually your spirit is broken and you go, hmm, perhaps it's ok actually. On the other hand, those images above are all fairly abstract, no words and not even many definable letters to distract you. Not sure where I'm going with that but I feel like it matters.


it means kids are bored and are tagging things because they don't give a shit.


I think there's a distinct separation between graffiti and vandalism: graffiti can be art, and in that sense I love how it can brighten up a space, give identity to the darkest places of a city, or make a statement. But just tagging your name on any surface you find? That's just dumb and boring.


Round our way someone has taken to spraying the front of those boxes black, then very neatly using white spray with a stencil over the top to turn them into giant speaker cabinets and amplifiers.


you too? oh i can finally come out of the closet with my disdain for graffiti!


Hahaha I really hate it too.

Just yesterday I was thinking about writing a post about how uncool I am because I don't like graffiti, computer games or comics. But then I worried that saying all that might make me cool.


Richard, definitely your funniest entry to date, I'm half expecting Banksy himself to hack into AceJet tonight and tag it (actually, that would be really impressive...). I know what you're saying about the (quote) moronic and habitual daubing of "public property" with shitty looking "tags" but I actually quite like some of it. Look at what this tagger did at The Bridge End Flyover in Belfast, I think it's cool (but am I just part of the youth/sub-culture set?):


(Oh goodness, I admit I also really liked the Banksy version of Paris Hilton's album sleeve, will you still talk to me in work?!)


I was pondering this today - I see a nice one tagged in a lovely combination of green and red on my way into Liverpool Street.


Isn't this kind of graffiti the equivalent of a dog pissing on a lamp post to mark its territory?

I do like graffiti, but the stuff up above does nothing for me. In fact it gets in the way of some lovely textures!

Colin McKay

Stepping away from the graffiti/tagging bashing and the banksy references:

You know what it is? Behind every one of those boxes is an industrial engineer saying "screw you and your artistic sensibilities. I'm going to put a square metal box right in the foreground here."

Without even a solid brass plaque to indicate who designed and installed the box, like firms used to "in the old days."

Any dash of colour, tagging, stickering or poster can only help.

I speak, of course, as someone who has a hydroelectric transformer box square on my front lawn.



One of your best posts ever. Perfect commentary.


Heretic! (I kid)

I like the stencilled speaker idea. I believe that in Canberra a couple of years ago there was some sort of local community paint-a-thon to pretty up the telephone junction boxes. I think local councils/governments need to engage with the graffiti community and give them projects to do. It won't stamp (zing!) out the pollution of tagging but it's the only viable way to improve the visual balance in an urban environment methinks.


Blimey, that went down well! I agree with a lot of it, particulalrly the dog reference. Thanks for taking the time everyone.


There is a lot of shit graf out there, along with some good pieces as well. I wrote about a great little idea that can help us communicate how we feel. Check it out http://sdotg.blogspot.com/2007/05/street-justice.html


Firstly I'd just like to point out that this article is totally contradictory. You begin the article by saying you think graffiti makes public places 'look shit' and then at the end you say that you're 'intrigued' by them and you've got a collection of photos you've taken of them... Surely someone that finds graffiti that 'ugly' and 'shit' wouldn't waste their time taking photos of it?

Also I always love how people make the distinction between 'shit' graffiti ie. tagging and 'cool/artistic' graffiti ie. pieces, characters, throw ups, stencils etc. I'm not sure people know or care, but there can't be one without the other.

Every graf artist whether they be Daim, Delta, Seen, Phibs and yes even Banksy, or just some punk kid that still lives with his mum, will begin with a 'tag'. The 'tag' is basically the blueprint for the artists style and the form their letters will take when they move onto 'throw ups' and then 'pieces'. Although the artist will never stop tagging, it's something they will do and refine throughout their careers, it's just another form of 'getting up', a quick and easy way to say 'fuck you, I'm better than you' to any other graf writer in an area. It's a highly creative and expressionistic, I believe, 'art form'. You can't imagine the amount of time that goes into refining a 'tag', I would liken it to designing a typeface except that you're working with only a few letters and you're doing alternate styles for each letter, figuring out how they can interact and join with other letters like ligatures.

Just think that kid that is writing 'shit' all over the place could be the next Banksy or whoever. Graffiti is a highly skillful craft, some 'tags' you see look like they've been written by a master calligrapher. Then of course you have the 'pieces' the pinnacle of a graffiti artists journey something they have worked on and refined over the years, as well as their spray can control and technique and all the various cap attachments that can be used for different effects and in different situations. Obviously not everyone that writes their 'tag' on a wall is going to end up being some awesome artist, but everyone starts somewhere.

Check out José Parlá's work, he makes 'art' out of 'shitty looking "tags"'. Or do you make a distinction here and say 'well those tags are different because he's making "art" with them'?


Also check out some other graf links:
The Book of Tags - http://www.thebookoftags.com
Phibs - http://www.phibs.com/
Reka - http://www.rekaone.com/gallery.html

I know most people will not agree with me, but hopefully I've shed some light on this art form.

Bureau L'Imprimante

As I wrote somewhere: It's funny to notice that 30 years later, punk became so cool, but graffiti is still a pain in the ass.

Go vandals, go!


"Surely someone that finds graffiti that 'ugly' and 'shit' wouldn't waste their time taking photos of it?"

Oh yes I would...


Tags are rubbish and, as Ryan points out, in general nothing more than territorial pissing. I really don’t buy Nathan’s opinion that they‘re the basis of street art. Sorry, but saying that every artist bases their work off, or progresses their work through, their signature is bollocks. Plenty of graffiti artists never tag at all, outside of signing their pieces, and I'd imagine the vast majority of taggers never move on; the fact that some do doesn’t magically make most tags less shit.

However, there’s a big world of street art outside of tagging and a lot of it is jaw–droppingly amazing:


Well said, Richard. I'm on your side, don't you know.


let me correct myself and say disdain for vandalism as opposed to graffiti.


"Surely someone that finds graffiti that 'ugly' and 'shit' wouldn't waste their time taking photos of it?"

ugly and shit can still be interesting.


Graffiti is aesthetically unpleasing, but in a good way. Why does everything have to be pristeen, clean and uniform? It's a sub-culture, urban and mysterious... how and when do they get to the middle of a bridge on the motorway?! Clearly it's thought provoking, but in a way that perhaps the perpetrators don't realise, and there's something romantic about that. People doing simple things for simple reasons.


Bad news, good news...



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