10.08am - American Graffiti
Trip Start Apr 01, 2011
8Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Pousada Zilah Sao Paulo
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
There is an endless debate being held by councils across the globe. Graffiti: is it vandalism, or is it art? On one end of the scale, you have basic tags – some enterprising young idiot with a can of spray paint and the ability to scribble his name. At the other end, men and women who have been hailed as true street artists. The most famous is probably Banksy, the Academy-Award-nominated Bristolian whose works have sold for up to £102,000, but he's far from the only artist who has chosen to paint publically, rather than privately. I watched a documentary series a couple of years ago presented by Julian Beever, a pavement artist who travelled to various
Of course, even here, with the high skill level, there’s still the usual scrawl, but there’s so much more impressive stuff jostling for space alongside that you can overlook them. A pair of Paulistano artists, twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, were even invited by the Tate to paint a mural on the side of the museum. Does that officially make it art, then? Even as they were in London, their work in São Paulo was under threat by the mayor’s Clean City law.
Walk In The Twilight, by Vincent Van Gogh. I’ve never seen a Van Gogh original before, and I find his work compelling (I could look at Starry Night Over The Rhone all day), but I’d never seen this one before. It was one of the most interesting things I’ve seen for a long time. Van Gogh is rightly recognised as a wonderful artist, and his works sell for tens of millions for a reason. I also gazed at one of Monet’s works, Japanese Bridge And Water Lilies, for what seemed like seconds but was probably closer to five or ten minutes. But looking at other paintings in the gallery – works by renowned artists like Manet and Matisse – I found they left me slightly cold. I just couldn’t summon up much interest in portraits of the aristocracy. The detail work on Renoir’s backgrounds or clothing are fantastic, but the faces of his subjects just don’t excite me.
Now, there are plenty of art critics who would tell me my taste is appalling and that I am decidedly wrong in my opinion here, but that’s my point. I don’t know anything about art. I just know what I like. And whilst some of what I like is hanging in the National Gallery, or MOMA, or the Museé d’Orsay, that’s not everything I like. It turns out, I like walking around São Paulo and seeing the graffiti. I like bright colours and interesting ideas and social commentary. I like
I suppose what it really comes down to in the end is that all artists believe in their work, and if achievement was measured by passion, there’s no question that all painters, sculptors, directors, photographers and even writers who have tried to make their work public would be hailed as part of a cadre of geniuses. The only question is if you have the talent to back it up. Is your work ever going to mean anything to anyone? I hope mine does one day.
There’s a great Banksy mural, depicting a street cleaner washing graffiti off a wall. The graffiti in question? The Lascaux cave paintings.