Friday, July 31, 2009

Keep it to the Bathroom Stalls

Hey Kids, it's time to talk about graffiti. I don't understand graffiti. Yes, I know what it is and that the word comes from Italian and originally referred to cave drawings. What I don't understand is why is there so much of it? Is the act of doing graffiti really popular or is there a small group of people doing a whole lot of graffiti? Let's break it down!

If graffiti is a really popular pastime with lots of artists then the obvious question is why is it so popular? However there is no accounting for popularity as I've already documented on my post about tattoos and is also demonstrated by the footwear known as Crocs. Having said this though, I can't recall knowing anyone (even in my youth) who was big into or even dabbled in graffiti, so I must conclude that graffiti is down largely by a small group. Further evidence of this is the apparent skill with which most graffiti is done.

So, this brings me to the question of why spend so much time on graffiti? Why would this become someone's passion? I suppose it might be fun, but it is such an unfair form of fun and that is what makes it so annoying. Near my house there is a large wall painted white that in recent years has become the canvas for at least one spray painter. The business that owns the wall periodically repaints it white only to have the graffiti return. It must be obvious to the graffiti person or people that this must be annoying to the guy with the can of white paint, yet they persist.

Graffiti on a forlorn, unkept, and under-appreciated surface is one thing, but constantly spoiling someone else's idea of what they want their property to look like is mean, rude and annoying. I don't get it.

At the same time I am a big fan of the scrawlings on bathroom stalls, if they are funny. These provide a service to those of us who like to read while we sit. My favourite of all time is still one of the stalls in the basement of the UVic library that I affectionately knew as the Howie Meeker stall. Someone had drawn a sketch of hockey analyst Howie Meeker and put one of his typical expressions next to it (He can't hit the ocean from a pier) and others had added their favourite Meekerisms on their visits to the stall.
Such gems as: "Can't shoot, can't skate, but he's got a heart as big as the whole outdoors," or "He went around the defence like a hoop around a barrel." The list was about ten long. Apparently the custodians liked it too as it seemed to outlast the other graffiti.


  1. After a lengthy debate about grafitti with my pro-grafitti nephew, I demonstrated why it was bad. I took a marker and tagged his favourite notebook with something ridiculous that he wouldn't like, showing him that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's not so fun when it's your property that's the canvas.

    Just wanted at least one comment on this entry.

  2. Wow! That's some big time vigilante justice! Maybe I could start doing stuff like that.

    I could follow home people who park in the no parking zones at KFC and park on their front lawns.

    I could follow tailgaters and wait till they get out of their car and then walk really closely behind them (I wouldn't tailgate behind their cars as that would be stupid).

    The possibilities are endless.

  3. Of course others may not be as understanding as your nephew. I'd probably be going to the Emergency room pretty quick.

  4. Okay, now there are three post - wait, make that four.