When i first got into art, i was pretty put off by all the nonsense that goes around it. “Through this work, the artist explores the concepts of…”, “in the process, they unsettle the boundaries between”, etc. My intuitive response to all this always was “no they don’t, they’ve either made a good picture or they’ve not, and anyway, most people really don’t care”.
Now, I’ve moved on a little since this, and can read pictures for what they mean, rather than just what they look like, but still think there’s a lot of nonsense out there that just attempts to dress ‘Whitney as Britney”. I generally encapsulate such things with the phrase “well, it certainly raises more questions than it answers”.
But here’s something i saw today that perhaps does raise questions, and at least provokes thought.
It’s a bit of wall work, pretty clearly by a Bristol Uni student, on the side of STA Travel, the main student travel shop in the area, for those that think following years of their peers to Thailand, Australia then back through America is ‘travelling’. It’s making the point that if people keep on travelling by air, then global warming will get worse and sea levels will rise. Fair enough.
But, made me ponder a little.
What is graf? Is it always done in paint, stickers or etching, or is chalk a medium too?
Does graf have to be an image, or can it just be a message?
I think the answer to both of these is yes.
But perhaps unintended were the questions;
Why did the artist think that choosing a building at the top of one of Bristol’s highest hills made the point about rising sea levels more plausible? Wouldn’t Thomson’s in Broadmead have been more intuitive?
Have they really calculated the estimated sea level for 2030 and marked it accurately on the building? I guess from the question mark after the 2015 level they’ve marked, they may be a little uncertain of their research.
Is chalk a more sustainable medium than paint, stickers or etching?
Why did they originally forget to put ‘a’ before the word ‘future’? (Nice use of a colon though)
It reads ‘MAKE YOUR CHOICE: Air travel OR a FUTURE!’
Note self doubt bottom left, juxtaposed with bold certainty to the right.