Grafitti against tagging

I have photographed graffiti in some of the underpasses in my hometown. The first three photos are examples of tagging, which isn’t much more than vandalism, but I think the rest have been made by pupils from a nearby school. The local authorities painted the vandalized underpasses white a few days before Constitution Day, which is a major deal in Norway. They had been vandalized again the next day. The taggers seem to mostly respect graffiti, at least the ones made by children, so maybe that’s the best way to fight it?

Grafitti has the potential to be both decorative and provocative, but when the artist is unable to express him/herself through art, I wonder how useful it is. I come from a small town in Norway. I, know it’s not exactly Bronx, but that didn’t stop me from listening to breakdance in the 80’s and watching videos. This was the global youth culture in my teens, and good graffiti reminds me of that.

It would be nice if the teenagers today could get some of that back and use graffiti as a way to express themselves and disseminate information, or perhaps social media killed that need? How about documenting today’s youth culture using public walls like these underpasses as canvases? Incidentally, there is a tradition for using graffiti as a way to express social criticism. One alternative to the first two photos could be to manipulate known characters and say something about our own society. I think that would have been a more effective way of conveying the message, and most people would be far more likely to feel considerable more than irritation. This is after all a time when we have good reason to criticize authorities, local  as well as national and international.

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