Graffiti: An Artistic Contradiction

I don’t condone graffiti. It is, after all, illegal. But I also have a great respect for public art, for artists who demand to create work that is visible by everyone. Graffiti has been around basically forever, traceable back to the ruins of Pompeii where that famous volcano preserved curses, spells, and slogans along the Roman streets. It survives in most cities despite civic efforts and clean train campaigns. It is a contradiction embodied: both egomaniacal and altruistic, destructive and creative.

Today’s Video of the Day is a short documentary about Atlas One, a well-known graffiti artist in Los Angeles. Atlas One comments: “The standards now are becoming way higher than they used to be. Before it didn’t take much to be somebody. Now you gotta pretty much be amazing to get recognized.” As one of the few who is recognized, Atlas One must be pretty amazing.

*****

Darcy Zacharias, CC’10

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