Delinquency has different groups as stated “negligible delinquents; early starter/declining; late starter; and early starter/chronic offenders”1 in most cases adolescents become aware of the trajectories that delinquency will take and decline in their negative patterns. This normally starts at around 17 years of age. With my own life course I tended to realise at 17 that I needed to make decisions about life choices. I chose art as a way to express myself and be functional. I was never a hard case as I realised that life was full of opportunity and interesting paths. Even though I took a different path, I have kept the delinquency in my work. Personally delinquency can be creative as unwanted art like graffiti shows. It can lead to chronic delinquency in a lot of cases and that is the downside but for those who find a creative way forward there is actually a lot to explore.
It seems ridiculous that scribbling lines everywhere would actually symbolise delinquency and this type of stereotype is fairly off the point as the clean sticker style of illegal graffiti can be more of a marker. You could go around in circles with this type of comparison but what saves marks from illegitimacy? If it wasn’t for the Abstract Expressionists graffiti probably wouldn’t have divided opinion. But what goes into it is just effort. Some graffiti is just really great. But what I am talking about is tagging and so on. That is what interested me but as an activity it becomes self propelling and lands into other territory. A lot of graffiti artists are interested in crime and that is their call for notoriety and so forth. That never really got me. I suppose I saw something else in the delinquency. Maybe a kind of indirect beauty that you can find on a wall or on a building site in rare cases. A kind of mistaken identity.
Initially I considered these ideas as more about my mental state but realised that even though it plays a factor there is a place for these mistaken notions. There can be beauty in the chaos of these offences but the end result has to be for a greater purpose and that is in the art of delinquency. We all know of German Expressionism as something that was labelled as delinquency by the nazis but with graffiti it is quite different. Even the authorities know there can be a trajectory toward art even though the gateway says otherwise. It is known as unwanted art but plays a part in street art but it is graffiti that leads the battle of disclaiming its own original tenets of art as a serious pursuit at least in Sydney Australia. For so many years I was called an artist by other graffiti writers and it was at times derogatory. I don’t bring it up to be divisive but just to clarify the attitudes that have changed over the years.
If you think about it swathes of graffiti writers after having been harassed by authorities jailed or charged embraced their lot to be criminals and highlight the point. It was about being ‘real’ and not fake. The downside of this is obvious and has played out in predictable ways but also exciting ways if you consider some Melbourne graffiti writers like Lush. What I want to bring to the table is just art. It is scribbles and lines with various affectations but it isn’t about crime. It is about returning what was just thrown out after the mid eighties. It is about finding those voices that never thought they could get there.