Ready to debate: Is all graffiti equal?

by on January 12, 2011 · 10 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach

Political graffiti on Froude near Santa Monica.

Here are two examples of graffiti sprayed or written on local Ocean Beach walls.

One has a political message, and the other does not.

B.S. graffiti near Voltaire and Mendocino.Not too long ago, we posted an image of some anti-gay hate-speech graffiti (which has since been painted over or removed). Last summer someone using a stencil spray painted the 'bum' sticker image on the sidewalk in front of a local head shop (which has also been painted over or removed).

Are all these images and examples of graffiti “equal”?  That is, do some have any value, or do some have less value than others.  Or all they all equal and need to be removed?

One is an example of political graffiti, the other is either what I call B.S. graffiti – there’s also that hate-graffiti, and there’s also gang graffiti.  Not to mention, importantly, there is such a thing as “art graffiti” – graffiti that is artistic.

Political graffiti has a long tradition in Ocean Beach.  Political expressions or sayings, I believe, are on a higher level than B.S, gang, and especially hate graffiti.  And art graffiti deserves special recognition.

However, where the graffiti is painted, sprayed, or written is also very important. It’s not cool to place any type of graffiti on private property (unless of course the owner is okay with it).  And then, does it matter if the graffiti is on public property, like a sidewalk?

This website and some of its members have been instrumental in drawing attention to the usually gross BS and gang graffiti along the Cliffs, and in helping to paint it out and remove it, over the last couple of years.

So, let the debate begin….

Don’t forget these lines from “The Sound of Silence” by Art Garfunkle and Paul Simon:

“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls, and whispered in the sound of silence.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

OBWarZone January 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

First: $hitty handwriting. Those O’s are horrible
Second: Who in the hell (still) tags? Didn’t that fad leave years ago?
Third: Pick another color dude, you just linked yourself to two crimes
Fourth: Nice use of space. You had the whole wall, but can barely fit two sentences?
Fifth: Is his name Slipa or Slira?
Sixth: Really, a Pac Man ghost logo is your tag sign? The x’s on the eyes top it off. TUFF.


Frank Gormlie January 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

Awesome OBwarzone, if we had a graffiti contest, you would be one of judges! Plus you’re funny.


Steven Bartholow January 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

No it isn’t. Watch Exit Through the Gift Shop, there is real street art.


Frank Gormlie January 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Thanks Steven for mentioning that. There is a review of the film at the bottom of this post above.


OB Dude January 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Just saw a new tagging on the wall ….intersection of Nimitz and west side of West Point Loma.

If this tagger is so proud of their work they should tag their own property or decorate their forehead!


just my 2 cents January 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Please don’t give this any attention. That is what ” they ” want. You are feeding the monster. just my opinion.


OB Dude January 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

These taggers are vandalizing personal property and trashing our neighborhoods. I think it’s important to talk about their actions. No question they want attention…in the past week whoever “they” may be have been busy.

What I can say about “them” is “they” are cowards and the do their busy work in the hours of the day when “they” aren’t noticed. If “they” are so proud of “their” work … do it in the daytime and expect to pay the price for your actions. These DISRESPECTFUL taggers are headed down the wrong road and not doubt will end up in jail for one reason or another.

Soon or later, karma comes around :-)


OBWarZone January 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

So “taggers” sketched up the REDBOX screen @ 7-11…….


Emily January 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Any word of any new graffiti clean-ups coming soon? I read some articles about the paint-out last July and was wondering if there are any new ones coming up? I dont mind some of the murals on the cliff walls, but the name tagging isnt too artistic and I would love to help paint it over especially the cliff wall below Del Mar ave.

If not, are there any laws against me and a few friends going down there and painting it alone, with the same color?


Frank Gormlie January 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Emily, there is a long OB tradition – we do it ourselves. Paint it out and everyone will be appreciative, including the cops, the neighbors, and yourself.


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