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Graffito Artist Statement

Modern Graffiti started in New York City in the late 1960’s as a way of spreading one street credibility throughout the city. This was done typically with the use of permanent markers that were used to write ones name and the area code of where they lived for example Rick644. Markers were used until the use of spray paint became popular. As time progressed these self named graffiti artists spent more time on each of their pieces as to push their own style and develop their craft. They wanted to stand out from the taggers, ones who just wrote their names, and created pieces that stood out due to creativity, vibrancy, crisp line work, and artistic appeal. These graffiti artists come from all walks of life and see themselves as rebels against the system while others do it for the fun and excitement although they know of its illegality.
Since I was young I have always been drawn towards the colors and shapes of graffiti and how I believe it can take the mundane and boring walls that we see every day into creative works that brighten the areas of decay or otherwise dull environments around it. When I look at the urban areas where graffiti is usually found, these pops of color and intricate design can really bring color to the abandoned or forgotten spaces that would otherwise seemed so bleak and worn down. But because I lived near Ann Arbor I also saw that Graffiti was not only for areas of decay but also areas that were just easily overlooked. I view the works as Canvases that the world can either choose to enjoy or destroy.
I choose to take panoramic photos that I later stitched together and edited with slight desaturation because its gives me the ability to show the urban surroundings around the graffiti. It allows me to feel that I’m not creating an absolute focus on the graffiti itself but how the graffiti reacts to the area surrounding it. I also take the photos in varying cities (East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit) to show that graffiti isn’t solely for the urban areas of the larger decaying cities but is also found in small residential areas. Although some graffiti, such a gang symbols from taggers are seen as a nuisance, larger imaginative pieces can detract attention from them and the areas its around. It makes me question whether these graffiti artists see themselves as painters or rebels. These works I would even consider to be forms of unauthorized public art which then asks the question is public art even created by a “public”.

-Rick Meurs

Graffito Gallery 4 Graffito Gallery 3 Graffito Gallery 1

Graffito Gallery 5