middle brow | citizen how

 that’s our building there.

that’s our building there.

it's ok. i've already cleaned all of it off.

just for fun. that’s apparently what this clever triad stands for. and shit. i get it. they ain’t doing graffiti to be hard. and they ain’t spraying gang signs. and it’s so much fun for them! they get to hop fences in the middle of the night and rip down screens that people pay for and spray up a building and all at 2:15a and it’s so much fun to be out that late your parents don’t even know and anyway they moved out 7 years ago and they don’t gotta tell their parents anything anymore anyway cuz who are they just a couple boring stiffs if you ask me. phonies. 

but what when they spray a building that just had its masonry redone? i mean, brand new brickwork. beautiful grout work. truly a piece of art. work done by real middle and working class men. is it fun to cover up and sully that brand new art? their weeks of work? and what about when the company who commissioned said art (hired the masons) is very tiny and stressed for months about the work because it threatened to bust their budget and when it was finally finished and only 2% over budget, exhaled for the first time in months? what if they haven’t had time or money in ages to eat anything but rice and beans and apples? what about when that company donates half of its profits to local social justice organizations? one of them being arts of life, a collective of developmentally- and intellectually- disabled adults who make beautiful and meaningful art in chicagoland? and what about when the clean-up budget for the graffiti eats into half of their donation to that group? which art is more valuable to you? to them? to all of us?

i frankly love graffiti. and i frankly love the fuck-you nature of it. and i think it very often beautifies ugly parts of the city. like abandoned buildings and trucks and train cars. but if you’re just doing it for fun and attention (which, let’s be honest, inspire like 97% of all human behavior), do a little research first into who you’re hurting. mcdonald’s can afford paying someone to clean that shit for the day. a local small business that’s in the midst of spinning up a work training program for youth from your neighborhood can’t. and it really fucks up their budget and capacity for honest, positive work and change. 

i’m sure they justify their art somehow. i’m sure that even in situations like this they feel justified. but to me, it’s like killing an ant. like: fuck you, ant. i’m decided to end your life right now. i don’t care what you’re doing or how it makes you feel. or it’s like the US invading iraq. or grenada.  just, i guess, the dickheaded imposition of the powerful onto the powerless. at 2a, our building was totally powerless. vulnerable to them. and they said, to themselves no doubt, so it arguably doesn’t need quotes? i don’t know, i don’t have the CMS in front of me. but they said to themselves: fuck these guys. we’re putting our art here. whether they like it or not.

so, all graffiti artists are like dick cheney. 

 be a good person. drink good. do better.

be a good person. drink good. do better.