|Spraypaint on the dedication plaque
on the Ferguson Avenue Bridge
Graffiti, or tagging as it is sometimes referred, has been around for a long time. The earliest forms of graffiti date back to 30,000 BC. Cave paintings and ceremonial drawings were scrawled and painted on cave walls. Modern graffiti usually comes in the form of spraypaint, markers and acid-etch used to damage glass. Some taggers, who may refer to themselves as graffiti artists, are actually quite talented. Unfortunately as talented as they may be the canvas they choose to place their art is what makes it illegal.
|Sign of Woodlands Park
scrawled with spraypaint
One doesn’t have to go far to find some graffiti. Depending on where you live you may find some “street art” painted or scrawled right on your own block. The problem with it is, aside from the illegal nature of the act, it also looks bad.
There are good examples of positive street art, when someone commissions an artist to use their talent for good and paint a piece on the side of a building. A gallery owner on Ottawa St hired an artist to paint a mural on the side of his business after battling and cleaning up after taggers for years. Urban art can be positive in this light.
Graffiti hurts neighbourhoods. Besides the illegal nature, and disrespectful act, the scribbling takes away from the beauty. It bruises the pride of citizens as they see this tagging on their homes, businesses and public spaces.
Recently Hamilton launched an ad campaign against graffiti in the city. The advertisments, seen in transit shelters, called out for people to report graffiti and to call 9-1-1 when witnessing graffiti in progress. Some called that an over reaction, lessoning the seriousness of this vandilism, with the argument that it wasn’t something that should be called in. One thing is for certain, if it was my home that was being vandalized I would want the police alerted.
Graffiti isn’t something that is going to go away but of all of the crime in the city it is one of the most visible, and one of the most unsightly.