The Writing's On The Wall

But is it alfresco art or mindless vandalism?

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From Pop Art to Graffiti Art - Sir Peter Blakes appreciates the rise in standards in W4


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Sir Peter Blake was quoted recently admiring certain examples of graffiti he had noticed around Chiswick, a viewpoint echoed by a number of residents who have voiced their appreciation of a piece of ‘artwork’ in Dukes Avenue’s A4 underpass created by a person or persons ‘Corrupt Government Crew’.

Dubbed a ‘wonderful piece of urban socio political art’ that attacks the ‘tyranny’ of CCTV and a ‘clever piece of political commentary’, the artwork sparked a debate on the forum about what was art and what was vandalism.

Graffiti isn’t a new phenomenon; early scrawls can be seen on ancient walls in Pompeii and Rome. More modern times have seen graffiti artist Banksy being hailed as a genius, selling pieces in excess of £100,000 and exhibiting in mainstream galleries.

Graffiti has even made its way inside our supermarkets with certain household brands using ‘tagging’ for logos and in their advertising is also growing. So it would appear that in certain circumstances graffiti is becoming more accepted as an art form. However, graffiti remains illegal when it is the ‘unauthorised use of spray paint, marker pens or other materials to deface property by affixing messages, sometimes abusive and offensive, drawings, ‘tagging’ or other unintelligible scribble on available surfaces, usually exposed to public view’.

According to the council’s guidelines, graffiti is a criminal offence, namely criminal damage. If placed on your property then it should be reported in the first instance to the local police. If it is racially abusive or offensive graffiti on any property, details should be left on the graffiti hotline 020 8583 2620.

Although it is the responsibility of the property owner, the council will remove the majority of graffiti from private property free of charge. In some instances property owners may be asked to remove the graffiti themselves.

June 13, 2008