I love tags. The handstyles, the production. The shit, the bad, the great, the mediocre. Moreso, I love the rich culture behind it and the history that its traditions are steeped in. Tags give people a talking point – lovers and haters, and good tags make your jaw drop. For me, anyone talking about graffiti and street art is a good thing, positive or negative.
Then, there are those who say they “love that street art stuff” but “hate the tagging crap” .. well, I just don’t think they really grasp it, nor understand how significant it is – for a majority of aerosol based artists, this is where they first start out. It’s how they learn line, can and hand control – it boggled my mind how people separate expression into boxes.
Honestly, if you claim that you have never seen a beautiful tag before, then, hands down, I am calling you a liar.
Moreso, I wonder at the way in which people can appreciate street art and graffiti without also appreciating the skill, talent and deftness of hand in many of the tags that are produced by artists across the world. The funny thing is, that when humanity first started its great migration across the planet, we painted on the walls of the places we passed, and lived, in our travels. On the way out of Africa, we left our mark – animals, hunters, handprints. Our ancestors, with no written language, used these images to communicate with others who might also see them, and we still see them thousands of years later.
When Pompei was uncovered, archeologists made many discoveries, but by far the largest and one of most important discoveries they made were that the walls of the city were adorned with thousands and thousands of tags – message, names. These “tags” gave archeologists a vital window into their world, yet there is also evidence to decree that many of the population hated these “tags”.
So, who are any of you to judge what is, and what isn’t art? who are any of you to judge what is, and isnt an important part of our culture?
When the squid people find our traces in the post apocalypse world, and uncover a long buried skyscraper, with a wall covered in tags – they will put it into a museum, testament to the strange and beautiful art of the pale skinned beings who once resided on this earth. To argue the point is futile; it has been a part of our culture since its inception, and I’m sure it will be a part of our culture forever.
History will be the judge as to its importance, and artistic merit – not you or I.