My partner Rob would say that graffiti is just not on…period! This is due to his battle over the electricity sub-station near our property at Blackheath. He has been painting out tags and trying to screen it with bottle brush for years. Only now is he beginning to win the battle.
One day I decided to document the various forms of graffiti all the way from Blackheath to Sydney (via shank’s pony and rail).
Govetts Leap Road, on the way to Blackheath village, had a lot of new footpath laid in the 1960s. The local kids had a field day before the concrete set.
And Grommit wandered past as well.
There is a more recent example of people leaving their mark at the Blackheath Medical Clinic, constructed in 2011. I think Julian and Corinne were imagining themselves on Hollywood Boulevade rather than Wentworth Street,
I do think a footpath is fair game….well at least not a hanging offence, due to the temptation factor.
During the climate change strike recently there were chalked ‘call to arms’ messages all around the village. They will only last until the first spring downpour, but I loved the passion behind them. You are our hope for the future dear young people.
It was a different matter when I boarded the train. Scratched into a window was one of the saddest examples of graffiti I’ve ever seen.
Many train windows are targeted. However, the carriages themselves were surprisingly free of illegal ‘artwork’. This may be because State Rail has introduced new technology which can sense the presence of fresh spray paint and automatically contact police.
Of course there is graffiti on sidings all the way down the rail line; some just simple tags, others more elaborate. Apparently those within the graffiti culture can ‘read’ the tags.
And so to Central Station. There, on the wall of a cubicle in the women’s toilets, I found this gem. I was tempted to forgive such a glowing symbol of optimism? I can’t help feeling it was etched by a newly arrived English backpacker.
My final destination that day was the Sydney Botanic Gardens. I didn’t know what to make of the graffiti in the bamboo grove. Viewed enmasse, it did have a certain artistic quality.
The whole issue of graffiti is open to interpretation. Some people take the view that tagging is about tribalism and identity among the marginalized young, and therefore should be tolerated. Others view paint scrawled slogans as valid political commentary. And when does graffiti become acceptable urban art? It’s all very subjective.
I’m not sure that my own yardstick is valid. I hate tagging, even the more decorative examples. Top of my hate list is when beautiful sandstone retaining walls are defaced by taggers. Yet much as I love trees, I did find the carved bamboo quite aesthetically pleasing. And if there is a bit of whimsical humour involved in street art, I’m all for it.
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