La rue est un musée pour tous ! ―Hergé
People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish . . . but that’s only if it’s done properly. ― Wall and Piece
The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self-education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal. —G. K. Chesterton
Going inside, walking into a museum, intending to spend two hours, when the sun is shining, the air is warm, the world is teeming, seems wrong, an error.
Why would you want to go inside to an art exhibit? Will it change your perspective of the world? Will it make you happy? Will it inspire you? Will you learn something? Will you have a good time? Will it encourage conversation? Yes.
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. –Banksy
What to do when you visit a place where the sun shines daily and you dread going inside? Yet you want to change your perspective of the world and you want something to make you happy and inspire you and maybe help you learn something? And you want to have a good time and talk to someone about what you experience? (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!
In the corner behind two public trash bins, the two walls at an angle to each other had been painted with wall art. The colors were vibrant, the figures huge and comic, and no way would one say that this was graffiti in the usual sense. These pieces had been signed as well.
The wall art was in a small street in Le Panier, le plus vieux quartier de Marseille, the oldest district in Marseille.
As I stood there, admiring it, contemplating, I recalled Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. I was thinking about the wall and linseed oil and the cathedral.
“Linseed oil, extracted from flax seed, is one of the most useful natural oils. It is used as a preservative for wood, concrete, and an ingredient in paints, varnishes, and stains.”
“Due to its polymer-forming properties, linseed oil can be used on its own or blended with combinations of other oils, resins or solvents as an impregnator, drying oil finish or varnish in wood finishing, as a pigment binder in oil paints, as a plasticizer and hardener in putty, and in the manufacture of linoleum.”
On Monday, September 11 my guide took me to see Saint John’s Co-Cathedral. I had refrained from going during the previous week because of the long lines. She talked our way into the front of the line. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!
Graffiti can be a scourge on a city. Tagging claims territory and has little to offer except a language for those who know its vocabulary. It is defacing.
A big disappointment, because I did not expect its prevalence, when riding the train from Charles DeGaulle Airport to Paris, was the preponderance of graffiti on public and private buildings and on any space of any surface. It was everywhere.
Graffiti can seem crude and threatening when compared to public art, such as the sculptures in public squares and the paintings hung on walls inside and outside of buildings.
I compare most graffiti to a dog lifting his leg and peeing, marking.
However, as I noted on another occasion, graffiti and wall art can be very beautiful. Once I spent a day in the 13th arrondissement in Paris, looking at the graffiti and wall art on rue des Frigos. It is worth a visit although out of the way for most tourists.
What is the difference between wall art and graffiti? Wall art seems to entail images of faces and bodies and looks more like a large painting. Words and letters seem to appear less often than in graffiti. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!