Thursday, March 19, 2009

Turn that vandalism into art

A trio of taggers was arrested this week for using city property as a canvas. Not surprisingly, they prefer the term "artist" over "vandal."

Graffiti can indeed be art. Los Angeles, where I spent four years wandering the exurban wasteland, is rife with murals and commissioned works of spray paint. All beautiful. Wouldn't mind seeing some of that pop up around Tracy.

But when that art goes up on personal or public property without consent, it's called vandalism, no matter how pretty it is. And woe to those who can't make that painfully basic distinction.

So some advice for our enthusiastic friends with the spray paint: If you want to be considered an artist, act like one.

Put together a proposal for public graffiti art to the city or the Arts Commission. Pitch your idea to the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts and tag some hunks of concrete for display in a proper gallery.

And if you keep on painting property that isn't yours, don't expect sympathy from City Hall.

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