Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Contesting the war on graffiti: Zero Tolerance, Uprock and Outpost

OK, so this is my first post here for ages ... it's been a crazy few weeks! Hopefully I've now got some time to catch up on various things that have been going on around the place.

First up, graffiti stuff. Back in October and November, I ended up talking on graffiti and street art at three different events. These three events were really interesting examples of different approaches to trying to contest the escalating war on graffiti -- one was the launch of a book documenting a legal graffiti project trying to advocate on behalf of alternative policy approaches, one was a group small of graffiti writers at a hip hop summit trying to figure out collective strategies, and one was at a giant state-sponsored exhibition of graffiti and street art in Sydney which attracted over 50,000 visitors. So, here are some extended reflections on it all...

Zero Tolerance - The Blue Mountains Street Art Collaborative

The first event was the launch of Zero Tolerance, a book published by the Moutains Youth Service Team about the Blue Mountains Street Art Collaborative (BMSAC). BMSAC is a collective of Blue Mountains street artists that has sought to negotiate legal opportunities for large-scale graffiti and street art. The project was coordinated by Jarrod Wheatley, and it has had quite a bit of success. As the book shows, BMSAC has produced lots of terrific work, and in the process it has gained positive press in the local newspapers and won a Greater Western Sydney Community Services Award.