202 Beatdrops: Graffiti Without Borders

"Art ain't about paint it ain't about canvas its about ideas, too many people died without getting their mind out to the world." - Thornton Dial Sr.

I came across the above quote while wandering around DC's National Portrait Gallery at the tail end of last summer. It has stuck with me. The fourth outing of The Historical Society of DC and solSource's Hip Hop Cinema series made the quote pop into my head again. I imagine that many graffiti artists can resonate with it.

On Saturday April 4th 2009 DC locals were treated to a screening of
Bomb It. Jon Reiss's thought provoking documentary traces graffiti street art history, shows how the art form has evolved in different parts of the world and prompts viewers to question what pertains as public space and what can be defined as art. While Bomb It is decisively pro graffiti it still gives opponents face time.The ambitious film covers ample ground as it was shot in 5 continents and draws on several themes that are omnipresent in graffiti culture. It left me pondering an array of themes:

  • The never ending debate on whether graffiti is art or vandalism
  • What is public space?
  • The capitalization of graffiti art.
  • The thrill that comes with "tagging missions."
  • Graffiti as a crime
  • NYC's vs. Philly's approach to graffiti
  • The widespread presence of graffiti in city slums.
The Black and White arguments on opposite ends of the graffiti debate are persusive however I myself idenitfy with shades of Gray. Over the next few days HiphoPolitico will explore these themes as it pays tribute to one of the four elements of hip hop: graffiti writing.

Enjoy another trailer of Bomb It as well as footage from the LA scenes.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping by!