Before we go on I’d like to say a word about graffiti. I looked through my photos and although I like to take photos of city streets, industrial buildings and public transport I didn’t find many. It’s out there but I choose not to photograph it usually because I hate the stuff. Let me explain why.
I have often mentioned that I used to work for the railways. I cleaned rail cars and one of my jobs was cleaning graffiti. Sometimes when they were stored at outlying depots overnight rail car sets would have huge murals painted over them. They took hours to remove, the chemicals we had to use were nasty, we had to wear respirators and rubber gloves to use them and the whole job was very unpleasant especially during the hot Adelaide summers.
I will admit that some of the murals were colourful and clever. If they had been done somewhere else or the taggers had permission to do it I would not have minded them. However many more were not art but just tagging, people’s names and rude words.I never refer to the people who do this as artists.
One of my photos does feature tagging and I took it on purpose. It is a tribute wall to a homeless man who died. I wrote about it in a blog post last year.
I do like street art though, when it’s the kind that is meant to enhance the neighbourhood and I admit to having a chuckle at some of the witticisms that used to be painted on walls before it all became tagging. For example “The Prime Minister does the work of two men. Abbott and Costello.” Even funnier years later when there actually were politicians with those names.
My photos feature the ubiquitous tagging of railway buildings and equipment, the tribute to “Mouse”, a “ghost sign” an old faded advertisement on a building, a modern advertising sign and some street art on walls in North Hobart and in New Norfolk.