i like the graffiti that has a message, an idea, a position or an innate ability to conjure a response from the viewer. i've got books collecting some of the better stencil graffiti over the years, and i've always been a fan of what shepard farey was originally doing (with his original "has a posse" stickers), and even mark gunderson's "eyes" stickers that covered high street from morse rd. to the south side back in the late 80s/early 90s. i loved going to other cities to see a show, and see a set of mark's eyes looking back at e from a telephone pole. hell, i remember some band on the first sub-pop video comp had one of his eyes stickers on their guitar, and that was about as cool as somebody's "tag" (for that's what it was) was ever gonna get. on an instrument in a different genre of music, half a continent away, and then in the national video for that band. spreading your name in lands far from home, even in the 70's subway car style, is an interesting use of graffiti (or sticker tags) and always puts me in the mind of the name of an early jg thirwell record "foetus art terrorism"
i think a lot of the stencil and sticker graf is truly "art terrorism" in some of the best ways possible. i just simply think that there's nothing "art" about marker tagging everything in your sight, feeling entitled to do it, and fuck those who tell you that you can't
but back to my point, if you've never checked it out, i HIGHLY recommend this book:
if you haven't seen it, find a friend with it and glace thru it sometime. it's a gas, and really inspiring. it makes you want to create art that day. and it makes a cool present when you don't know what to give someone.
well..tj i think stencil graffiti in general has greater possibilty of have a utilitatarian, pop and political use.
hate to use a hip hop analogy...
but most people like story raps better than battle raps..
because the battle raps don't include universal human elements.
however a good battle rap still commands attention no matter how selfish and fruitless they maybe..
tagging would be the battle rap.
and an interior of battle rap can communicate things..
regional styles and trends
graffiti as graffiti that we are talking about...the "tags" is something a segment of the population enjoy, and has its audience...
history,aesthetic rules and culture..
and it does alienate people that are victims of something that in many cases is pure narcissism.
part of the craft "graffiti that started in philly and new york in the mid 70's"is the lack of stencil and utilization of said tool..
on a different note
if someone uses a stencil on something, they are still vandalizing something that doesn't belong to them?
(i know you mentioned telephone poll, and not business)
its still illegal and vandalism.
i just think its more sympathetic because at least it has a direct message.
or a quicker ability to speak in literal images.
and shepard fairey is making bank..
he put posters up small businesses.
i look at him as the mike jones of graffiti..
he self-promoted and used his knowledge of his culture to prosper.
he said his name so much, people started paying him to obey it.
but i feel you if your saying what he does is more interesting to general public
it has a subversive slant.
which makes the rebellion targeted, political, and less nihilist.
thanks for recommending the book, and being open minded enough to discuss this.