Graffiti is an interesting art form. I use the term “art form” loosely because there are obviously people out there who look at it less as art, and more as vandalism. I mean, hell, I even talked to a guy I know who has been tagging for years and he said a big part of the thrill was the vandalism aspect of it – the fact that he was breaking the law for his art, and he (at that point, anyway) hadn’t been caught doing it.
Now I’ve spray painted a few things in my day (mostly wheels), but beyond that, I’ve never done anything overly creative with a can of spray paint. I feel like if I ever do give graffiti tagging a try, my first piece would look something like this masterpiece my girlfriend made a couple years ago:
That particular tag is pretty legible, which I think kind of goes against the whole idea of graffiti. It’s almost like people approach it with the attitude “I’ve got something really important to say, but I’m going to write it all in really messed up letters so most people have a incredibly hard time deciphering what it says.”
Fortunately for us, there are people who go out there and paint over these tags with the same messages, just in a font that’s legible for everyone to read. The result is really quite something – have a look!
I mean, most of it doesn’t make any sense… But at least we can read it easily now!
Whoever tagged this corner must be fond of meat, because I see “bbq” and “grilz” on there.
So why don’t these make any sense? Part of it might be the fact that these all appear to be in Europe, so it could be a language thing. That, or the folks behind this campaign are merely transposing artists’ tags. What’s a tag, you ask? Why don’t we as Professor Wikipedia?
Some of the most common styles of graffiti have their own names. A tag is the most basic writing of an artist’s name; it is simply a handstyle. A graffiti writer’s tag is his or her personalized signature. Tagging is often the example given when opponents of graffiti refer to any acts of handstyle graffiti writing (it is by far the most common form of graffiti). Tags can contain subtle and sometimes cryptic messages, and may incorporate the artist’s crew initials or other letters.
Well, that explains it. On to more examples!
The guys behind it even allowed their photo to be taken! Banksy, they ain’t.
So there you go. Next time you’re staring at a graffiti piece and wondering to yourself “What the hell does that mean?!” Don’t worry – it probably doesn’t mean anything.
Also, in case you’re wondering how I know this isn’t in Canada… Well, that’s easy – none of the tags are bilingual!
Photos via imgur.