If you ever chance to walk into a masterful, beautifully spontaneous, and possibly illegal wall of graffiti or street art, stay a while and take it all in (or spread the love and take a photo), it might not be there when you get back. I’m not talking about tags done by teenagers who can barely spell out their own name. I’m talking about the truly talented spray paint artists found all over the world, obsessed with adding color and social commentary to empty walls that are just asking for it.
From Banksy to L7m, these are the unsung heroes of the modern art world. Luckily there are websites, documentaries, galleries, and cult followings legitimizing this booming art form. It’s a movement that has no chance of receding or hiding behind closed walls, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. These aren’t works done for any sort of profit besides notoriety or respect as an artist (under a pseudonym). And everything has the possibility of being painted over and destroyed forever, so they’re working in a medium of instant relevance, immediate enjoyment, with fleeting tangibility. There’s something beautiful about working so hard for something you can’t take with you. They paint it, others enjoy it, then it’s gone.
Their dedication to an art that could easily get them incarcerated on vandalism charges is sometimes misunderstood, but we’ve all gotta give these guys credit for being ballsy in doing what they love. Would you risk jail for some cans of spray paint? I might, but I’m a terrible painter, so basically it’s not worth getting laughed at by the cops.
So, take it all in and smell those painted roses. I feel like any art that adds infinite color, emotion, thought, or humor to our outside world deserves to be called Art, with a capital A.