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April Knott's Landing
11-04-2017

Graffiti, love it or hate it, you can't avoid it. Every jitty you walk down seems to have been decorated courtesy of the spray can. Some of it is of questionable value but if you believe the experts it's the ultimate 20th century public art form.  There?s something about a bare wall that is just too tempting for some of us. They say nature abhors a vacuum and that big plain wall is an empty space that needs filling. There?s a switch in some people's brains that just says ?FILL THE SPACE?. It?s not even a new phenomena. We have been daubing paint on walls since before homo-sapiens was a thing. In Australia they have stuff around 30,000 years old. For 30,000 years we've been filling walls with marks that say ?I WOZ ERE? in one  way or another.

Kriz-GrafittiYou may be of the opinion that Graffiti is nothing but the scribblings of some random young 'erk with nothing better to do with their time but make the place look a mess. In some ways I agree but I love some graffiti. Clever, political, celebratory, artistic graffiti is a thing of beauty. Tags... where the 'artist' just writes their name on something, that?s a whole other ballgame.

Recently in Cambridge, of course it was Cambridge, someone daubed graffiti on new million pound houses. It said 'Locus in domos Loci Populum' which could mean Local homes for local people, or not. My Latin is not great and greater minds than mine suggest the phrase is confusing and has not been conjugated properly. It brings the graffiti sketch from The Life of Brian instantly to mind! What it has done is got people talking about the issue of house prices and the affordability of homes in cities. It's brave stuff but its important. It's making a point.

Banksy has made an entire career off the back of making political points through the medium of graffiti. I don't know who he is, there is a rumour amongst Leicester Poly people that he was a student there, one of us, with something to say and there's the rub.  

People seem to be more than happy with graffiti if it speaks to us, writing your name on a wall, either a tiny tag or a massive attempt at art, well that's just boring. 

Helen Knott


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