Graffiti IS Art

New Bedford's Third Eye Unlimited Festival
I read in the Lynn Item today that Lynn is trying to combat the graffiti problem.

Full article:

At the bottom of the article, they actually start to show the beginnings of understanding that graffiti is an art form:

Ward 5 Councilor Brendan Crighton is working on his own anti-graffiti project along with Community Development Director James Marsh and RawArts. Crighton said a group of young artists competed for the right to paint the large control boxes located in several different spots in downtown.

Crowley likes the idea. He is hoping that if the boxes are painted by local artists, “the vandals, or artists as they refer to themselves,” will be discouraged from painting over another artist’s work.

I love the project that is going to happen downtown. The more public art, the better in my opinion. I can't wait to see what the end results will be. 

I do however have a small problem with Crowley's quote. As I have been misquoted in newspapers many times myself, I'm going to assume he said something slightly different because I like the guy.

Yes, graffiti artists are artist. Yes, there are some in Lynn. They, like most of the artists in Lynn, do not have a forum for their work. By tradition, they work on sides of buildings, hidden locals that are hard to get to, etc., and often do it illegally.

I personally don't want anyone tagging my property without my permission, and I really don't want gang tags on my house, so I understand the frustration. I'm not pro-gang tags, nor do I want crappy tagging and graffiti all over my city. But I do want a place for the real graffiti artists to show their skills so that a level of education about this art form can start to take place on a city-wide level, and so that we can all come up with a way to create more opportunities for graffiti artists to get to work in a serious manner.

I also know that the taggers who are new need something to aspire to so that they can hone their skills,  have more respect for their city and how to keep working in a community minded way. Having skilled artists do their work publicly will allow the newbies to learn a thing or two, talk to the artists, and take themselves and their craft a little more seriously.

Simply wiping out their art work isn't going wipe out the true artists' urge to make their marks.

I was just at 3rd Eye Unlimited festival this past weekend in New Bedford and took the pics below. Let's get this to happen here and give people an extra outlet!


Carrying on the party through ROCK*STAR Nation

My Rock Star Days with Big Nurse, Many Moons Ago
My friend Alicia and I go through periods when one of us will feel that all is well in the world, and our creative energy levels are through the roof.  I'm sure you go through this too. Sometimes we are in that state together, and other times, we use our abundance of what we call "rock rock status" to lift the other to the same level of feeling awesome.

After my grandfather passed away a couple of weeks ago, I was bound and determined not to let myself fall apart. At his burial, my Uncle Billy told the story about how my grandfather and one of his relatives agreed that whoever outlived the other had to throw a huge party. Both men are now gone, and my Uncle Billy challenged the rest of us to continue the party.

I gave myself a couple of days to get whatever tears and feelings of self pity out and then decided to move forward and honor that part of my grandfather's spirit that I cherished the most when he was raising me. His belief that we can all be high achievers and be the best at what we do if we push ourselves is one of the best things he ever gave me. I felt closest to him when I was an athlete. I feel my best when I am competing. I re-immersed myself in my running passion as my own version of carrying on the party.

Because synchronicity is so abundant in this world, I sought out people who were on the same path. I found Magda Cardosa. I remembered her from high school, knew she was close with a few of my family members, and also that she is a kick-ass athlete and super runner. At the same time that I decided to start training, she started ROCK*STAR nation. It's a virtual group of people who decided to make July the best month of their lives. It's a 30 day commitment to get your body strong, spirituality in order, and nutrition in check. I signed up, started training, feel better than I have in years, and am registered for a 5k and a half marathon.

So what does this have to do with art? I decided to tie my artistic training in with my running. Everything I do to train for the races, I am doing with my art as well. Run for an hour, write for an hour. Weight train for an hour, sketch for an hour.

Artists are mental athletes. We need to hone our skills, feed and nurture our imaginations, rest when restless, take part in social activities to keep ourselves motivated and energized towards our goals, and test our training through performances, or exhibitions.

So my next steps towards becoming an art rock star are
: continue training/honing my skills
: get out and see others' work to feed and nurture my imagination
: take one day a week off for rest
: keep moving forward with the salon to create a group of artists for support and accountability
: to look forward and find venues to test the waters with my work.

The next salon will be on Sunday, August 7th. Bring your rock star mentality! Walnut Street Cafe, 10 am. Bring three artistic goals to share, develop and make executable. We're going to MAGDA the art world.

*We'll also be moving around to people's studios if you are interested in hosting at your studio on the North Shore, drop me a line.