Bristol Graffiti: There Are Rules, Understand!

A bunch of lovely people here, in the Social Age Safari workshop. All learners, all trying to lead. In a creative space, indeed a co-creative space.

There is a graffiti wall, with bright paint pens to use and lots of hopeful, inquisitive messages carefully scribed upon it.


Graffiti. It made me wonder, isn’t it more of an anti-message process? A methodology of tension, and confrontation, with the community, with other artists?

On a whim, I meanderingly drew across others’ musings. It felt good, it felt vaguely antagonistic, a touch of tension.


But I should have known! There are rules to this kind of thing.

Three wonderful local street artists came by to share the whys and wherefores of the Bristol scene – y’know, Banksy an’ all.


Turns out, if you are going to go over another’s work, you need to obliterate it entirely – that, my friend, is respect. Merely messing with another’s work is disrespect. There are consequences. If you cross swords to the DBK crew, it might mean them erasing all your work as soon as it is laid down. There are rules!

I looked out across the river at all the tags, graf, art, and I thought: I have no idea how to interact with all this. I just see it, but I am not of it or in it. I am an observer only, a keen one maybe.

How often is it that we find ourselves in that place – limited knowledge, zero context, but still plenty of opinions and beliefs. Yuck. Just as graffiti is challenging to many (visually, in the community); so it is newly challenging to me in really understanding the narrative around it.

As usual, there is work to be done.

←This Much We Know.→


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