Graffiti “artists” claim their work is art!
Perhaps some graffiti is, and many would put Banksy in this exceptional category. In most case though, I think it is no more than vandalism and criminal damage.
Graffiti has a strange power. Where graffiti is allowed to remain it changes its surrounding, an accumulation of litter follows, then petty crime and more graffiti of course.
I wonder if it was following from that logic produced the wonderful art installation which is running in York presently. Replicas of some of the classics of the art world have been mounted on the sides of building in the most unexpected and unlikely of places. Leaflets are available to download here and it is possible to do a walk around this open-air gallery trail.
This is a selection of the 49 paintings on show. The works include paintings by Monet, Carracci and Van Gogh. They are all full life size recreations and have transformed the streets of York into a gallery.
One of my daughters was looking at the Rembrandt in the warm of the summer eveningÂ when a couple passed. They saw she was looking at something so followed the direction of her gaze. He said, “Oh,” as though in wonder. She too said, “Oh,” as though in surprise and wonder. They both turned as one. He to the picture and she to the shop window with bags in it. After a moment he said, “Ugh, it a replica!” Did he expect it to be real!?
One of the 49 paintings was stolen. I would very much like to know where it ended up. If it is now on display in a home or pub will it lift the soul as art should do or will it, being stolen, have the affect of graffiti and erode its environment? I would like to think it will be a like a light, wherever it is.