Today in my visual arts 110 class, we watched snippets of a film called “Bomb It”. This movie takes the audience to various parts of the world and samples the local graffiti art. It features interviews from graffiti artists, discussing what their art means to them and the community. I thought it was fascinating how the meaning of graffiti varied from location to location. Personally, I’ve always had an appreciation for graffiti art. The complex style and bold colors are always eye-catching and more often than not possess a profound meaning behind them.
My personal favorite portion of the film was the part that focused on Tokyo and the graffiti artists residing there. The woman in particular caught my interest. She talked about finally realizing that her life’s calling was graffiti art at the age of 20. At first, hate and angst fueled her artistic drive. However, after surviving cancer and having a baby, she transformed her art themes to that of joy and happiness. As she talked about this, the film portrayed before and after photos of her art. The differences were very prominent. I felt very inspired by her life journey as both an artist and a human being. That being said, I enjoyed the small parts of the movie we watched in class immensely. I plan on watching the entire film sometime in the near future.
However, something really put me off during the class discussion. I noticed a common theme among our discussion group synopses. Virtually everyone who spoke about their views on graffiti stated that they support it as an art as long as the artist had “good intentions.” The reason that this put me off was this: art is not about having good intentions. It cannot be deemed as unworthy simply because it is not up to par with society’s standards of being for a good cause. Art is self-expression. It is pure, raw emotion. That is what makes it art. I think a lot of art is not drawn from a happy place inside of us. For instance, take that graffiti artist from Tokyo for example. Her art wasn’t any less beautiful when it was fueled by rage versus when it was fueled by happiness.
Sometimes, those feelings are what compose our passions.
“Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” -Honore de Balzac