Scratches – One Man’s Art Is Another Man’s Crime

‘Bloody vandalism.’

‘It’s street art.’

‘Give me a break, Logan. These yobbos don’t care about art.’

‘Some of it’s really clever and they’re not breaking anything…’

‘So it’s ok to cover someone’s house in paint?’

‘Often the owner wants it…’

‘What if they don’t?’

‘Ok, that’s wrong. But if the building’s grotty and they bring a smile…’

‘Who gets to judge? What if they upset everyone else? They’re just thoughtless.’

‘So when you go out and get absolutely blotto and ruin everyone else’s night, that’s ok, is it?’

‘It’s different.’

‘Why? You always call it “painting the town red”…’

December 6, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about graffiti. It can be an artist, art or the medium itself. Get out your can of spray paint and go where the prompt leads you.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Scratches – One Man’s Art Is Another Man’s Crime

  1. Ritu says:

    Brilliant take on the prompt!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A true dialog regarding art v.s. graffiti. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This could start a debate. OK – I’ll jump in – it is only art if it has the owner’s permission

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I suppose I’ll agree that for private dwellings it shouldn’t happen but I’m not sure it fails the ‘art’ test just because it is also either (or both) morally bankrupt and criminal. And underneath railway arches, isn’t either of those, in my book. I see them as public spaces and since the ‘owners’ are essentially ‘us’ and the people in charge will rarely give permission I’d say it’s art, welcomed and indeed to be encouraged ,.. but then I’ll contradict myself by saying if it’s just those awful, unimaginative tags you see it’s not art, just shit… so I have no idea what the answer is.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Good one, Mr Incorrigible [smile].

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love how those signs have been tampered with. I agree with Logan, and you about tagging – that’s not art. Imo anything that adds to the enjoyment, wonderment or thinking of the people who view it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rowena says:

    You made some great points here, Geoff. Thinking about our Australian context, some towns, suburbs and places are better suited to street art than others. I’ve seen some great efforts in Sydney’s Surry Hills, which has quite an upmarket arty feel to it, but around where my parents live on the North Shore, people get upset about people wearing the wrong type of socks on the golf course and Christmas lights are very uncommon. So, I’d imagine anything vaguely street art or graffiti art would not be approved. I don’t think you saw this post I put together on Graffiti Tunnel at Sydney University. It’s the only place you are allowed to apply paint to a building on campus:
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I did see it. It’s a nice idea to allow artistic expression but in my view universities should encourage it all over.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Yes, but Sydney Uni has all of its sacred buildings, and they are pretty special. Perhaps, there needs to be some larger boards around campus for free expression and for something bigger than a big poster.
        I was researching my Dad and Vietnam and read about guy turning up during O week stark naked with a gorilla mask on. This wasn’t frowned upon and was just seen as part of the Oweek antics. That would be the case anymore. University has seemingly become a lot more serious and business-like although I’ll need to check with a friend of mine who’s at Sydney and currently living on campus.
        When I went, university was free and I’m sure having to pay all those fees would make you focus a lot more.
        BTW that Christmas beetle is still buzzing behind the printer and I’m thinking I might have to launch a rescue mission, which entails leaping over some rather bulky pieces of equipment with my usual grace. Indeed, one of my school friends very kindly pointed out that Miss didn’t get her dancing ability from me!
        Wish me luck!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        The beetle should be worried


  7. Pauline said it perfectly. I think anything that makes a person smile when seeing it is art. I wouldn’t want someone tagging crap on my house but a happy picture, I wouldn’t object to seeing. Those were great additions to the signs. 🙂 Thanks for making my morning start with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Liz H says:

    Love those pics, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Norah says:

    Some of those signs are very clever, Geoff. You always were fond of street art. What’s the harm in making something boring a little more fun! Great flash.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Charli Mills says:

    All in all, I think it’s natural to communicate — however, not everyone should speak in graffiti. Street art has a vibe and so does painting the town red — youthful exuberance.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Graffiti « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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