Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old School “Poet”...

By Madame Margherite

Poetry at 5 Pointz? Well not quite, Poet is one of the old school train writers who has had the pleasure of taking part in the Meeting of Styles held at 5 Pointz a few years ago.

The Meeting of Styles is not a competition, rather than an event where graff artists from all around the world, Montreal, New York, France, etc… come to paint and eat together meshing their styles side by side. The diversity of such an event makes for a great culturally artistic experience. It’s one of the only times artists of such different styles get to come together and collaborate in a peaceful environment.

Taking place at 5 Pointz was indeed an honor for all parties involved, including the venue itself. The Meeting of Styles contributes to the greater picture of aerosol art around the world, and has provided an immense opportunity for this art form to dramatically submerge. Just the idea that such an event takes place is an impressive stepping stone for graff art. The value of bringing so many artists together is immeasurable.

Poet, born in Brooklyn, and raised in Queens was familiar with 5 Pointz prior to the Meeting of Styles taking place there but had not visited since the transformation from “Phun Phactory” to 5 Pointz. It was this event that was responsible for this veteran’s return. You see, Poet, like many old school writers find that a place where aerosol is legal takes away from what graffiti is, in fact that’s not graffiti at all to many artists across the world. And perhaps it isn’t but none the less Poet agrees that there are pros and cons to this new form of legal graff.

He takes us into a radically different point of view then that of those who so whole heartedly love 5 Pointz and what it represents. Many will agree that there is a clear line between art and graffiti. While both are forms of creative expression, it’s the act of illegally marking ones territory that appeals to a graffiti artists, thus the reason culture considers such artists vandals. They are in fact vandalizing property when painting or spraying in or on an unauthorized location. But at 5 Pointz, all who mark the walls are granted permits by Meres prior to their painting.

To some, that’s just plain art. Poet grew up in a time and place where legalizing graffiti was simply unheard of and unimaginable. He spent his younger years sneaking into train yards painting trains, street bombing, and climbing out of windows to mark up the sides of buildings with stolen paint; a thrill that can only be captured when up to mischief. However, now as an adult Poet admits the stupidity of such activities. Not only were his actions physically dangerous, but they could have landed him behind bars; and for what? Vandalism? Hardly a good reason to tarnish ones future as many might agree.

Despite Poet’s maturity he still finds the transformation of graff art from illegal, to legal to be a bit “weird”. He states “this art form came from the streets and should stay that way”. While poet no longer involves himself in illegal activity, it just goes to show that just because you provide people with a legal outlet for their creativity, that doesn’t mean they wont continue to express themselves illegally.

Not to be confused, Poet makes it clear that he has great respect for Meres and what he has built upon the walls of 5 Pointz however he makes another point about graffiti. As this art form has gained popularity advertisements have used graff images without the consent of the pertaining artists and capitalized off of their work. Of course the reason such artists have yet to receive a single red cent is due to the fact that their true identity remains a mystery but none the less this has stirred up disputes among the aerosol community. At 5 Pointz, one could gain recognition for their work—one of the many pros of the establishments Poet points out.

Though he does not completely agree with Meres’ vision, he believes that it is a good one as long as it can last. A place for people to express themselves is in fact a valuable asset to the art community. The more individuals that see the work, the more graffiti can generate a fan base, and that is alright with him. Poet signs off with a message to the old school community “it’s time for hometown people to speak up and tell their stories; 5 Pointz is the Big Apple of graff!”

Thanks to Poet for an old school perspective, and his contribution to the rise of graffiti.


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