When I originally started graffiti as a twelve year old kid it was terribly out of fashion. Most people hated it because it was a fad two years before I started that had a lot of negative and destructive consequences. Or at least so people thought in the dusty confines of Sydney Australia. “Why aren’t ya down the beach surfing?” was a normal question once the fad had fully worn off. Even today people hate graffiti in Sydney. I have a friend who is organising a street art festival and the coordinator doesn’t want any graffiti at all. It has so many negative connotations in Sydney. Many people have been harassed or bashed by drop kicks who call themselves graffiti artists. Initially though the negative cloud pervading graffiti as a twelve year old was a great attraction because graffiti annoyed people. I was never into aggression personally though it was always there but I liked the fact it really got under people’s skin.
When a bunch of kids kept tagging on peoples garage doors it really annoyed them. So what is good about being annoying? Well if you are naturally rebellious it is wonderful. You feel that you can get society back. What has society done? Well it doesn’t take much to read a history book or even turn on a television documentary to see. It also depends what really annoys you about your life. What fills you with shame, loathing and dread. Where you think, maybe things are not fair. Isn’t this a loser attitude? To think society owes you something? It isn’t just about society though. Clearly it is about who you are as a person. How you view your life and how you cope with life’s challenges. It is about mental health, public services, counselling and a safe environment to grow up in. What if you have fallen through the cracks? Doesn’t someone need to pay the price?
In fact we all pay the price for the DNA screw ups and various alcoholics, drug addicts and deadbeats who populate our communities. What can we do though than get bars on our windows and lock our doors at night? Well you see that is the million dollar question. What can we do when a twelve year old feels hard done by and decides to dedicate years of their life defacing public and private property? To be honest very little. Societies scream of privilege and pecking orders. The word privilege even gets hijacked to become another prison of words we find ourselves stuck in. What is the escape? For me it is writing and art. At least I eventually found that the words I left on the streets of Sydney suddenly came together into sentences where initially they were singular and alone. I still want to annoy people but only to inspire them to think and make their minds see different forms.