Thursday, January 19, 2012

Protest Arts -- Graffiti


Love it or hate it, graffiti has been around for thousands of years. They say anyone can read the writing on the walls. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These aphorisms, along with stencils, paint, and a message are all that it takes for a graffiti artist to be born.

The video below, an extract from Style Wars, offers a glimpse into the evolution of contemporary graffiti and street art. The title of the film oddly proclaims that it is "a hip hop documentary", even though the majority of the film is discussion with the graffiti artists and break dancers in Brooklyn. Truly, the documentary does take hip hop as a culture, more so than just a genre of music.

Local Scene

In St. John's, NL (especially in the downtown core around the Occupy camp), one of the graffiti artists whose work you are apt to see calls himself Dr. West. If you'd like to see more of West's stuff, or from the graffiti collective AVC and other artists, please have a look at, an NL graffiti dedicated site. Below are a couple of images some may recognize from about the city.


Any attempt to try to capture the diversity of street art is bound to fail. Below are a few images of work by a London based street artist, Banksy. Although he is likely the most famous graffiti artist around and has done work in many of the cultural capitals of the world -- and although his work is now sold in galleries -- he has never revealed his identity. Along with the images below, Banksy's webpage is definitely worth a look.

Protest Arts is a citizen journalism column exploring the intersection of art and activism. Check back for more in this category. If you have an idea for a Protest Arts write-up, please get in contact with us here on the blog.


Anonymous said...

west rules

Anonymous said...

For some more fun international graffiti, check out a Hong Kong artist, the King of Kowloon:

Anonymous said...

West doesn't even paint in NL anymore. It's hilarious that this article says "you might see west downtown". You might but its all old work. He currently is in Toronto. Tweak, Semy, Seone, Pope, Game, Bird, Revrt are all up right now. Why not mention people who actively write in the city right now? Instead of people who come home once in a while and throw up a piece.

I like west's pieces but he isn't up in St. John's.

Anonymous said...

@ anon last poster,

you ought to do another write-up on more contemporary stuff and send it our way! we'd love any insider info you want to share, as graffiti and any kind of street are is a big interest here...

crystal said...

I come down from ontario to visit nfld just to admire the graffiti

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