Graffiti

Saturday March 26, 2016
~2:30pm, somewhere near Los Angeles

Yesterday my family and I started our road trip to Lake Tahoe for Spring Break. As we were heading north, we quickly passed by Los Angeles county. On the freeway, we passed by something that I thought I was used to seeing because I expected it, but it still felt unfamiliar when I did see it: graffiti.

Graffiti has always fascinated me. I knew they were “bad,” or at least associated with “bad” people, but I loved looking at them. Using spray paint to make art must be fairly hard (although I’ve never done it, so maybe it’s actually easy). I remember seeing them a lot the first time I moved to California. And then, when I moved to Tustin/Irvine (I live near the border of these two cities), they disappeared. I didn’t notice that they disappeared until I would see them again in Long Beach.

Whenever I thought about Los Angeles, I used to think about dirty streets and graffiti. I know how privileged I am to be living in a clean city (no offense to LA), but sometimes I forget, and seeing graffiti again as we were driving by yesterday made me remember that where I live isn’t a “true” city. It was when I went into LA, experienced the congested roads, had random people trying to talk to me when I was on the sidewalk, and saw the many posters, graffiti, and flyers that I realized that I live in a bubble (I had the same feeling when I visited Hong Kong once, too). It was such a contrast between LA and where I’m living now. Graffiti just makes me think about that time again. I know I shouldn’t automatically think that graffiti must mean that there are gangsters nearby, but, admittedly, I do feel a little unsafe when I see them.

2 Comments

  1. Christopher Fernandes

    I can understand your slightly negative connotation of graffiti, especially because I feel it too. However, sometimes I have to remind myself to put that aside and appreciate this unique form of art. When I do this, I am usually impressed by the talent some “gangsters” have. I honestly wouldn’t be able to do that, regardless of how subpar my artistic ability is.

  2. Kirsten Miller

    The presence of graffiti is a visual reminder of the counter-cultures we discussed in class. We talked about the groups that spring up on the fringe of main-stream society, yet those who exist within these groups assume a cultural identity defined by their group. The group known as “Taggers” is one such counter-culture. If you closely examine their work, you can see that there are messages within. They mark their territory, they communicate with other taggers, and they send a message to the outside world with their cans of spray paint. Just like skaters, surfers, and hipsters, taggers create a sub-culture and a world of their own.

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