Sunday, 5 December 2010
But is it Art?
Saturdays at this time of year are usually either spent inside football grounds or with the aural company of the fragrant 'Emma' from BBC London.
Today, I went on a bit of a wander and ended up at Borough Market.
After polishing off my coffee from Monmouth, I walked over Southwark Bridge and headed towards the Tower to watch the Christmas skaters before ambling back to London Bridge.
While waiting for the Greenwich bound train, another train heading towards Crayford went past on the same line.
Suddenly, I was mentally back in 1985 and grabbing my iPhone, (obviously some things have moved on since then), to take pictures.
Unfortunately, I missed the best carriages as there were too many people on the platform but I couldn't help myself from getting excited about the 'burners'.
Twenty five years ago, I was a little obsessed with graffiti art.
Somewhere, I'm not sure where now, there are photograph albums rammed with pictures I took in the period from around 1984 up to around 1989 when I 'grew out of it'.
I spent what in retrospect was foolish amounts of time in areas of town where being a young kid with a camera was asking for trouble.
I used to regularly go under the Westway, West London to check up on the weekly developments sprayed there.
Westbourne Park was another place I visited, as was nearby Ladbrooke Grove.
The massive turning point for me was the huge wooden boards erected by the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden piazza around that time, where a group had been asked to 'do their stuff'.
It was a popular tourist place and many people had cameras.
Soon I was spending as much time as I could there, watching the Breakdancers and getting to know some of the faces that went with the names I'd seen tagged around. They wouldn't have known me but I knew who they were.
It made me feel as if I was 'in' on something Joe Public didn't understand.
My own feeble attempts at getting involved were truly pathetic.
For one of my 'O' level art pieces of coursework, I made a large brick wall on canvas and copied a poster advertising lipstick, which I stuck on top.
I then peeled off the 'poster,' leaving only bits of it behind and covered the whole thing with my own versions of the images I'd learned to draw by heart on the back of my maths books.
I wasn't very popular when I stunk out the art studio with my aerosol paints.
Due to an extreme case of lily liver, I was never tempted to try on walls or other public spaces.
I remember being quite thrilled when watching the Lenny Henry show and recognising the art work of a group called The Chrome Angelz being used as his backdrop for his standup.
TCA were, to my mind, the best of the best.
My first trip to Paris included an afternoon traipsing around some run down blocks in the area called Stalingrad, searching for some pieces painted by them that I'd seen in a magazine!
I'm now a fully paid up member of the 'grown ups' but I still appreciate when artists have been skillful in public.
I'm not a fan of people making a mess and just scrawling their names but colourful or witty work still gives me joy.
Recently, I heard about a piece stencilled onto the side of The Greenwich Hotel so I went to visit it, wondering if it was a 'real' Banksy, or just 'in the style of '.
What do you think?
I'd like to thank whoever sprayed the train today.
I'm sure there'll be lots of hand wringing about private or public property being damaged and I'd agree 100% that it's not the way forward.
Having said that, it did give me lots of pleasure.