Imagine a world that had no pictures or verbal images that send a certain message across. It would be impossible for us to watch movies or even music videos, advertising would become a mission. Magazines would look boring, newspapers would be bland. The same concept applies when it comes to music, a world with no sound…mm, the art of dancing would be minimized. We would walk around like complete robots, so it is quite clear to see that art and creativity contribute a lot to this world we live in.
We have elements like photography, where pictures are taken to tell a story. Paintings, sculptures, and drawings; the list is endless. Then there is graffiti which expresses art in a form of different spray paints being used to create images, or words.
Graffiti is mostly misunderstood by the older generation; they view it as a sort of destruction, an action of a rebellious nature amongst the youth. Which is not entirely true, graffiti has been respected in many cultures, such as the Hip hop culture due to the vivid themes it has, and the history behind it. There is something about all those colours being splashed onto a canvas and creating a masterpiece, or even telling a story.
Banksy is an English based graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter. Banksy displays his art on public surfaces and was selected for Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010. Banksy stated in the arts and culture Smithsonian magazine that “ There is a whole new audience out there, you don’t have to go around dragging a portfolio to snooty galleries, all you need is a few ideas and a broadband connection”.
Graffiti artists such as Banksy remind every other artist out there, that graffiti is not something that one does only fun. It is a platform to send across a message and to carve yourself as an artist. We live in a world where we are exposed to things such as crime, fast money, abuse and gender violence… artists bring balance and an escape mechanism away from all these sordid events. When you are walking down on a road and you see a wall filled with innovative images, tagged lines. It incorporates bright ideas into a person’s mind suddenly the world does not seem to be depressing. There is life, movement, positivity.
A wise friend described graffiti to me as “The colourful heart of the city where spray paint gathers thoughts astray. We dream in techni-colour, to colour in our worlds”.
A world filled with colour is a world which appreciates beauty, that is what exactly graffiti does. It turns a scrap yard into a beautiful location for images on burnt out walls. It creates images on spaza shops in the townships, it illuminates balance in artistic places such as Newtown and many more. Hip hop allows musicians to dream in colour when they reflect their spoken words in rap schemes. Each and every time a person listens to a good rap song it sparks something within them.
Written by: Nomsa Motale