By Warren Bujol | 1/06/2015
Art is an inherent form of human expression. It has shaped every single thing that you have ever touched, tasted, seen, felt, or heard. That being said, it is strange to me that we validate, or dismiss, art based on a set of arbitrary prerequisites: is it on a canvas? Does it require instruments? Was it once a huge chunk of marble, but now looks like a chubby Roman with his weiner chopped off? Most disturbingly — does everyone else consider it to be art? This process of elimination is similarly applied to determine who is, and is not capable of producing art. Yet everyone — even you, has, at one time wanted to create art.
We've all had that moment in our lives when we drew something, and immediately determined whether, or not we were “artists”. Either you showed it off, or you quickly scribbled over it and never spoke about it again. Ever. I blame critics; the fart-faced predecessor to the Hipster, who grant themselves the authority to determine others’ artistic-worth. How many movies did Gene Siskel make? Dick. Do you see me walking around telling dudes their Affliction shirts are stupid? No. I have a tribal-sleeve tattoo (I wish I was making that up) and I try not to throw rocks at glasshouses.
Art Is Everywhere
Art can be anything from the logo on your Chocolate-Flavored Axe Body Spray, to the HowToBasic instructional videos — even the kid that armpit-farted really good in 5th grade. Pick your poison. You could literally argue anything is art and that's what makes art so special. My favorite form of art is the illegal, anonymous kind; graffiti. Graffiti, or what you may know as “street art” (thanks, Hipsters) has been around since the Dawn of Man. Seriously. You can still find remnants of ancient graffiti in modern-day Greece. I know, I have the Internet.
The great thing about graffiti is its anonymity. With no judgement, the artist can express themselves with unparalleled creative freedom... and penis doodles… so many penises (why there are always so many?). It’s the one communication method we have that lets us say whatever we want. That’s not always a good thing, but at least it's honest.
Graffiti Is Fascinating
I have always been fascinated with graffiti. As a kid, I loved being stuck at train crossings; I’d scan the rail cars as far as I could see hoping to catch a glimpse of a travelling gallery of color and confusion. I didn't particularly care for the gang-related geography lessons — I already knew my cardinal directions (Never Eat Sour Watermelons). Not to mention, they leave out much of the pertinent information; West $ide of what? Train cars travel all over the continent, what if the west side of this town isn't the “best side”? But amongst the thousands of oddly-ambiguous proclamations of regional-loyalty, you'll find some of the most beautifully illustrated works of social commentary, and wit.
Again, it's illegal
Graffiti is a crime. I am not advocating for our readers to grab some Krylon, and liven up the place (you’d need to order special paint, and caps, etc. for best results anyway), but I hope I can offer you a new perspective into this ancient, and human artform. The mischievous, and at times, malicious nature of graffiti has understandably diminished its artistic value to the average audience. But in doing so, it has found a way to sincerely represent our species without the facade of maturity, or confines of social etiquette.
Historically, graffiti served as an uncensored voice for the people. It gave the common person a soapbox from which to convey a message to the masses — it was the ancient equivalent of the Oprah Winfrey Show. You couldn't really win fans by giving away free stuff, but you could say whatever the hell you wanted to – with almost no knowledge of the subject – and people would believe you. But saying what you want has been discouraged in society ever since society became a thing. No need to have an opinion, we have this script here for you to follow. The way I see it, suppressing our thoughts and ideas is no different than suppressing farts: it’s unhealthy, and eventually, you’ll eventually explode if you keep them bottled up for too long. I recommend letting out a lot of small farts and thoughts throughout the day, instead of a few really loud ones.
The Burden of Being Beast
For the most part, we adhere to the guidelines set upon us by society. There is nothing wrong with this, to an extent, of course. Without some restraint we’d be more animal than human. But “human” is a human invention. We’ve granted ourselves the authority to determine “right and wrong”…we are just a bunch of Eberts, sonnofabitch! In reality: We are animals. Deep down, underneath generations of repression and conformity; we are sex-craving, carnivorous predators, and everything we do serves a reproductive purpose. We groom to mate; we work to eat… and have money, so we can groom/mate. We (any verb) so we can mate. The list goes on.
We have established “norms” to regulate our animal instincts, and allow you to walk to the grocery store without having your head bashed-in during some asshole’s elaborate dominance-display (so he can mate). We even convince ourselves that this subdued behavior is natural. If so, why does it take less than a week without electricity for us to start pillaging? Seems kind of trivial to condemn art, when we have such fragile social-mechanisms being the only thing between you and murderous savagery… I mean “civil unrest”.
Beauty is the Beast
Seems like a long tangent to explain how our peers influence the way we perceive art, but wait... there’s more! If you were to humor your inner-animal (responsibly), and look at graffiti as art, and not a crime: you might be surprised at how powerful it can be. It’s more than the bright colors, technique, wit, or uniqueness of its application — it is the idea that someone out there deviated from the social standard to create something beautiful (subjective) where nothing beautiful (also subjective) was intended to be. It is the acknowledgement that we are not inherently civilized. It is a step out of bounds to indulge our animal instinct, without venturing too far down into the septic-tank of human behavior. Someone risked the penalty of law (a felony in New York) in hopes of inspiring a stranger. It’s almost altruistic.
I might not have mentioned that some graffiti is ugly. I don’t expect you to walk around appreciating every piece of graffiti you see. Some of it is shit, but that’s okay. Like I said, it’s a representation of our species. We are pretty good at being shitty, just watch any reality TV show. If we could learn to accept the good with the bad, we would be far better off. But for now, we’ll just keep polarizing ourselves on every issue imaginable. When was the last time you had an intelligent conversation with someone that didn't vote for the same guy as you? Me neither. It’s their fault though, ‘cause they’re stupid, not me!
We don’t all have to agree on what is good/bad. It shouldn't bother me when someone talks about how “awesome” Five Finger Death Punch is. It does. But, it shouldn't. We don't have to like it, but we should encourage differing perspectives.
I will leave you with the works of my favorite artist, BLU. BLU is an Italian artist, who has revolutionized the art of graffiti as we know it. He saw that by increasing the size of his work, he could develop a complex canvas. Then he was like, “I’m want to blow some minds. Maybe even make some graffiti-short-films”. Below, you will find some examples of his dynamic stop-motion approach to art. If this article failed to inspire your curiosity, I am certain the videos will. I probably should’ve skipped all the word stuff, and slapped you with the video from the start. Oh well. Enjoy.
Take the time to find art in the unexpected, and never forget: you’re a sexy animal on the inside.
Readers Also Enjoyed...or, at least they clicked on...
Founded in Lake Charles, LA. Subscribe to Exposure today and receive our biweekly newsletter, a digital version of Exposure Magazine, and a physical copy of Exposure Magazine mailed directly to your house every month. It's free to subscribe!