Our shops are filled with art, our streets are filled with talented, undiscovered artists.  On my travels around Eugene, I discovered the many different forms of art known and labeled as Graffiti. A brick wall, a door, an overpass, a wooden fence, boxcars, any place they can find to leave their mark.  It is illegal and we cover it up.

I wanted to show the other side of Graffiti.  Some is quite beautiful in my opinion. Why do they do it?  Why do any of us do anything? To express ourselves.  Does graffiti mean vandalism, or does it mean self expression?  Is it all related to gangs?  No. Does payment for or a group of children painting the side of a brick building constitute the difference between graffiti or a mural?  If you can read it and understand it, does it make it okay?

Graffiti:  A writing that has been scribbled, scratched or sprayed.  Graffiti dates back to ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire.  It is an art form, it is not new and it is not going to stop any time soon. In researching this project, I discovered there are many famous Graffiti artists.  Banksy for example;  he is known world wide for his political messages and is well respected, yet his identity is greatly protected.

I wrote to him to see (you never know unless you ask) if he would give me a little insight to his art.  What does it mean to be him and how in the world does he get a shopping cart painted on the side of a high rise building without anyone noticing.

“Hi Sandy,  Thanks for taking the time to write to Banksy, who is currently too busy doing charity work/helping the sick to reply in person.  (he then directs me to Banksy’s website)  Good Luck.  Regards and good wishes.”  Dean  PCO.

What is the answer to graffiti? I don’t think there is one to be honest.  There are boards to legally paint on by Skinners Butte.  I stopped by and found a young man getting ready to “paint” but when he saw me, he started to pack his bag.  I told him it was okay, he didn’t have to leave.  This was his territory not mine.  He declined to speak with me.

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked.  Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases.  Where standing at a bus stop was never boring.  A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business.  Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.”  ― BanksyWall and Piece

Take a moment to notice the “graffiti” in our ever changing scenery.

All images coyright Sandy Harris/all rights reserved.