Is It Art? Or Is It Graffiti?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 | 8 Comments


Willie the tagbuster was called out over the weekend after someone complained about a message written in chalk on the concrete hill on Victoria Rd that advertised an art event at the Kerr St Artspace.

Willie was not completely convinced it counted as graffiti, and The Speculator certainly wasn’t. Would the person who complained about this please pull themselves together.


  1. Bond says:

    Jolly good. A debate. WELL now, Specku-battler, First, I did not complain at all: I critiqued. There IS a difference. Second, I was not ‘offended’ by the graffito: I merely pointed out that it didn’t qualify as ‘art’ simply by referring to art. Third (getting nicely warmed up now), graffiti appropriate commonly-held visual space and seek attention, usually without offering anything sufficiently meritocratic to warrant this. One might therefore say that such activity is, in itself, ‘despotic’ and ego-centred (who needs to overthrow foreign despots when we have them right here?). I’d rather the kids learned to recognise collective space as such unless they REALLY have something original and interesting to show or say. Better than encouraging them to produce boring, self-indulgent (or commercially self-interested) visual crap. There is already more than enough of that about. Fourth (and the only thing I am going to stir after this is a martini), anyone who thinks our visual environment doesn’t matter enough for us to care about what goes into/onto it simply has no sensibilities.
    003 (licensed to kick)

  2. The Speculator says:

    The Speculady has suggested I have been a bit harsh on TheBug and Bond. I hope both correspondents realise my responses are no more than idle banter, to which they may of course respond in kind. The Specu-baiter

  3. matilda says:

    Children, please! My opinion is that graffiti is only a problem if it is permanent. If it is chalk and non-offensive, I like it. What a great way to get people to come to your exhibition/garage sale/event. And have you seen what kids scrawl on the pavements at weekends? Magic stuff 🙂

  4. Mo says:

    Oh FFS it was written in chalk! A couple of splashes of rain and the offensive message would be history. Some people in Devonport have too much money, spare time and not enough Cents ( yes that pun was intended too).

  5. Ed-norant says:

    I’m having a garage sale at the weekend. I’ll advertise it there too. I’ve also got some garbage to sell, a bunch of poles wrapped in bin liners with spray painted old boots stuck on the end. Some people call it art so I’m sure you won’t mind me advertising those on the wall too.

    By the way Ed, is this a website for the community or a website just for you to post your rants. If you have an opinion post it. But don’t go attacking / editing people’s posts directly whenever you disagree with it.

    My dear Ed-norant; Thank you for your rant. If you’ve failed to detect the distinctly tongue in cheek tone of my comments, perhaps you should pop off to a nice talkback radio show where you can fulminate ad infinitum. And in case you didn’t realise, most people don’t try and sell their garbage; it goes out on a Monday morning and is called rubbish.

    But er, just out of interest, how much were you thinking of charging for those binliners, boots and poles? Sounds like a fascinating concept. – Ig

  6. robyn says:

    There was not a show on at Kerr St Art Space, therefor a bit odd re the reference to it, I thought the chalk writing was in regard to one of the units on the hill, Did not bother me, find it difficult to believe something so benign could bother anyone at all, yes as you said get a life, perhaps there was nothing much on TV for half an hour and the turtle came out for their mail saw the horrid and offensive chalk writing and rang council immediately

  7. TheBug says:

    Wasn’t me who complained but that definitely is graffiti – or does Kerr St Artspace own the wall?

    TheBug – it is only “definitely” graffiti in your tiny insect mind. Stick to feeding off decomposing flora and fauna. – Ed

  8. Bond says:

    Well, it was not I who complained, but what are you saying Dr Speck? That anyone who wants to advertise something can simply scrawl on a wall? And if it refers to art it ‘becomes’ art? Possibly a difficult argument to sustain… There’s nothing sacred about an ‘art event’, and certainly nothing sacred about advertising, much of which constitutes visual pollution. Perhaps we should apply a criterion along the lines of ‘does this visual offering add to the space it inhabits?’. If not, I say call out the tagbuster.

    My boy Bond; I think one must a) operate within very narrow sensibilities to find such a beneficent scrawl offensive; b) not have enough important things to do to find time to complain. I’ll have a word to M to find you a nice foreign despot to overthrow. Feel like a “road to Damascus” experience? – Ed

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