Thursday, June 28, 2007

Revisit the writings on the wall

by Erika Tapalla

Art that is familiar yet overlooked; generated not for purchase, trade, or retail but shared in every city anyhow. It’s called graffiti, street art, writings on the wall, or even vandalism. But whatever term it masquerades behind, it remains catchy and a powerful way for nonconformists to get noticed. But is there really all there is to this risky endeavor? Does it deserve a second glance?

Using a spray paint as the primary tool for executing a piece, graffiti is illegal when it defaces public or private property. Nothing new there. But when the sun has gone to bed, artists scurry about to the thrill of creating a new piece to mark their existence in their time and context. Their work is lyrical and political. Their work is a response to the world they are moving in.

23-year-old “Bonz” believes in expressing his art in the street to add color and meaning to our familiar surroundings. Together with his crew from
SBA or Samahang Batang Aerosol, they release stress and emotion and spray the walls with the colors of the rainbow. “Some of our works are preserved in playgrounds, basketball courts 'cause it’s a production. The talent of a writer really comes out in the details of the piece,” says Bonz.

Bonz’s creations are inclined and centrifugal to the Filipino culture. Characters have Filipino attributes, or recreations of favorite cartoon characters that play a large role in a lot of Filipino children’s childhood.

Although the graffiti movement has long been present in the global culture, Bonz believes it has yet to really cultivate in the country. It is only during election period when graffiti is actually noticed – when obvious contempt for a candidate is depicted by adding horns to his head, blood dripping from its mouth, or simply spraying the entire face until it can no longer be noticed. Just for kicks? Maybe not.

June 12 2007, TIME Magazine’s Stephanie Kirchner released an article entitled
Remembering the Wall showcasing the 1.3 km East Side Gallery decorated with colorful murals illustrating Berlin’s history, culture and politics. October 2005, a photo essay entitled Art of the Street, street artists and their provocative works were featured to show more depth to a mere drawing. Even years ago, artist Shepard Fairey conceptualized the Obey Giant graffiti campaign aiming to “reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment; stimulate curiosity; and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings,” and succeeding to revitalize one’s attention to detail.

Reawaken. Stimulate. Question -- this is what united people of different races to commune with each other through intense visuals. Graffiti was used to tell their story that surprisingly indirectly affects different people; and trigger action. Quite subdued and recognized for mere aesthetic purposes, graffiti offers a dose of hope and a gulp of freedom to many.

Look long. Look hard.

3 comments:

Leo Magno said...

hi erika

good piece, on tuesday you will edit this a bit.

guys, let's make it na lang SOP that whoever writes the article will edit it him/herself the next session.

erika, try rearranging it a bit such that you start with the example of Bonz and his posse doing graffiti (but dont start with "23-year-old..."; never start a sentence with a number)

don't update the blog yet, though. show me your edited version (bring the file) on tuesday and we will refine it in class further, and that refined version will be the blog update

also, the TIME magazine example could have been replaced with a quote from an MMDA official or anyone else AGAINST graffiti for whatever reason (get the other side). if you were to tighten the article further you could even fit both the TIME mag part and the quote from the MMDA or a school official or whoever is against graffiti (yes, even in feature stories we get the other side)

in these cases, since this is not straight or hard news, we can give some leeway and probably break the 3,000 character rule a bit, say up to 3,500

cheers,
leo

Leo Magno said...

hi erika

good piece, on tuesday you will edit this a bit.

guys, let's make it na lang SOP that whoever writes the article will edit it him/herself the next session.

erika, try rearranging it a bit such that you start with the example of Bonz and his posse doing graffiti (but dont start with "23-year-old..."; never start a sentence with a number)

don't update the blog yet, though. show me your edited version (bring the file) on tuesday and we will refine it in class further, and that refined version will be the blog update

also, the TIME magazine example could have been replaced with a quote from an MMDA official or anyone else AGAINST graffiti for whatever reason (get the other side). if you were to tighten the article further you could even fit both the TIME mag part and the quote from the MMDA or a school official or whoever is against graffiti (yes, even in feature stories we get the other side)

in these cases, since this is not straight or hard news, we can give some leeway and probably break the 3,000 character rule a bit

also, good thing you remembered all the links….these are important guys, you give them entry points into new data related to your story, plus nice touch on the graffiti examples (photo)

if you guys can do it this early, try getting video and posting on youtube, embed the video or place a link…this would be a practice session na rin for your final blog/paper and for your classmates to see how easy it is to do

overall, good second post…later on I will expect to see a story of major significance to your immediate community (school or home) or even a national issue, again it would be a practice round for your final blog

acor, pls chk ur mail, sent you the story you edited yesterday, then please update your post

cheers,
leo

Tess said...

Good post.