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Thoughts on Graffiti & Art

May 17, 2011

There is a certain danger in using graffiti forms or sticker bombing to create buzz or awareness of your work.  If the work is not anonymous, this leaves a bread crumb trail right back to you, and angry city officials may round up some city attorneys and sue you sideways.  Cities of any appreciable size have attorneys on payroll year ‘round.  They can launch both civil and criminal charges against you.

I can’t find a news story online, but some friends in NYC advised me that their city either did sue or contemplated suing Shepard Fairey for the damage created by and the city’s clean up of the Barack Obama “Hope” posters and stickers being plastered all over the place in 2008.  All sorts of people were putting them up; the city want after the creator of the image as being responsible. 

I think people taking risks to earn street cred and get notoriety as an artist as quickly as possible may not consider the long term consequences. If you don’t sweat getting arrested or sued, then let it rip.  I would not take for granted that you-the-artist are too small time for your city to hassle.  They have the payroll to mess your life up.  Don’t call me, either, because I don’t have the deniro to bail you out of the slammer.

For more thoughts about street art, graffiti and fine art, read this recent May 8, 2011 interview with Shepard Fairey here.  He states that he’s been arrested sixteen times; this is on top of lawsuits.  The trade off of street cred over anonymity has worked for him.  Just consider the potential for worst case scenarios if you roll the dice, and what your motivations really are with using street level art.  Success in the form you may wish for -fame, political, commercial- is not a guarantee.

Categories: Graffiti, Uncategorized
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