Your communication skills are that of an educated person and we get it, you’re a smart fella! Are you one of those people that attempt to undermine other individuals with your impressive words and regurgitated ideas? Which that is beside the point, you consider graffiti “tagging” a political statement? What statement, politically speaking, would you, in your humble opinion, think they are relaying…., propaganda? How many politicians do you see in their districts tagging edifices for constituent gain? As far as “relevant to the person standing in that space at that time”, well isn’t that what art and free expression is about? I never said there were not racial issues within Hip Hop, what I did say is that Hip Hop doesn’t see color… as in who it reaches out to and touches. Race will always be an issue because, as I said, people keep it alive and point out the obvious. Everyone knows Memphis is a hot bed for racial issues, and some people experience it on a daily basis, but the trick is to let it go. Racial issues, in my opinion, are used as a crutch, a means of assigning the blame for whatever the problem may be. Read up on your political theory and racial and ethnic literature, The Ethnic Myth, that’s a good one. “Comforting convenience of true dilettantism” more big words, why don’t you just come out and say you don’t think I know what I am talking about? For an artist you sure are closed minded.
A learning artist? I would say all artists are learning, that’s what art and creativity are all about is continually learning and expanding your talents as an individual. With that said the UH crew are all artists, don’t think for one minute that these guys just sit around and plot and plan to deface property. They all have other mediums for their art, they canvas paint and sketch and are into graphic design, writing, music and graffiti, whether it is legal or not, is just another medium that they utilize. As far as you going to Paris and seeing the side of Notre Dame tagged, well things are different in Europe. What is beautiful and considered architectural genius and historically significant to Americans isn't as significant to people that live there because they are surrounded by their countries history daily. It’s only important to Americans because we are a relatively new country in comparison to Europe and we do not have hundreds of years of history in this country. No one cares about what you saw in Paris because it doesn’t directly affect what happens in Memphis on a day to day basis. If you are a lover of nature and an avid tree hugger that takes “paddle” trips down the Wolf River, why haven’t you seen their art work before? I agree with Unsung Hero, you need to be worrying about meth labs blowing up while you are paddling down the river, not some guys being creative. And get your terminology right, taggers and piece work are totally different.
Also in reference to some tool (CL Mullins) making a racial issue out of this article, what is wrong with you? Memphis is racially charged enough as it is and how in the world are you going to try and make a race issue from this article? Graffiti and the hip hop culture does not see color, people do and your kind of ignorance is what continually fuels the fire and makes it impossible to get past the prevalent racial issue. And there is a difference between gang tagging and the work graffiti artists do. “Bored white youth tag good and pissed off black youth bad”, wow do you even know what you are talking about?
Great article, I am glad someone is trying to distinguish the difference between gang vandalism graffiti and truly artistic work. These guys are a big part of Memphis and some people might disagree but they do a lot for the community, they really know their city. They mentioned the Jam is coming up, they organized entirely on their own, which is trying to get b-boying out there to show the community they are somebody and it is here in Memphis. It also gives them a chance to school people that might have wanted to learn more about the culture; art, music and dancing. Everyone is always talking about getting the kids involved with something to keep them from getting into drugs or criminal activity and even though b-boying might be considered unconventional in today’s society, there is an outlet for them and it is a diverse lifestyle and with the Jam they are combining all these aspects and bringing it to light. They aren't criminals or a threat to society; they are artists that are lucky to be out doing what they love and fortunate to use the city as their canvass to display their talents.
By Richard Alley
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