November 9, 2016
BPB do not condone illegal graffiti. Nor have they ever taken part in it. The Bipolarbears never even saw an illegal spray paint before. All this information was acquired tinternet.
There are three types of art in the public space.
Happy Legal Graffiti
1. "Street Art is stencils, stickers and wheat-pasting amongst others thangs. The majority of Street Artists tend to think of themselves as quite political & educated. They rarely have much control over a can of spray paint but instead can project/print images, cut them out in the comfort of their own warm Georgian home and potter out midday for a dollop of street art, tea and crumpets in backpack. This is a fair and in no way biased opinion." - Eamonn Dunphy
2. Bombing is illegal graffiti. It includes smashing blind people in the face with orphaned puppies, throwing box jellyfish in people's baths and the occasional bit of tagging. Bombers concentrate on getting their name/character up on any possible surface, through whatever they can get paint into. (Rollers, brushes, fire extinguishers, super soakers, bingo dabbers & maybe a bit of spray paint). It is getting your name in a place with lots of footfall, as stylish as possible within the time constraints of the law. Bombing is the graffiti you might hate and may not understand so this is why I'm writing this blog.
3. Happy Legal Graffiti is where exhibit 1 and exhibit 2 can meet each other for picnics, throw confetti over each other and have their photos taken. Fuck it you can invite fine artists and contemporary artists along. You may or may not find a few culture vultures there too. Happy Legal Graffiti is for Bombers who are on a suspended sentence or 'retired' bombers who are having a battle with reality and cannot afford another all nighter or a hefty fine. It is also a great place for a bomber to paint a piece they wouldn't usually have enough time to paint illegally.
Tivoli Jam, Dublin 2015
Painting at Writerz Blok, San Diego in 2013.
10,000 square foot of legal walls run by people on parole/suspended sentences for people like myself and Pepe who wanted to paint something substantial.
You're probably still not liking bombers but trust, you would rarely get number 3 if you didn't have these upstanding members of society.
Gonna skip a lot of the history of graffiti so I don't know why I even made that heading. Early cave art, jaysus even gladiators in the Collosuem threw up a tag before a bitta beheading. For the purpose of this blog we'll say 'new' graffiti blossomed in America in the 70's and started spreading. The four elements of the hip hop culture, Breakdancing, DJing, Rapping and Graffiti made some sort of hip hop wedding.
To me, the fifth element of hippity hoppity is having a lot of spare time. Rap and graffiti are both super fulfilling hobbies and graffiti is better than most crimes. I do believe the hip hop culture always prevails strong in times of poverty or economic decline. Graffiti came to fruition in New York in the 1970/80's when a lot else decayed, so having little time or money, is needed for the graffiti paradigm.
Speaking of spare time, if you have some watch the graffiti writer's bible so you don't have to read some weird chap waste time making them last two paragraphs or 8bars rhyme.
So these all writers started tagging, the most infamous being 'Taki 183'
Taki was the first famous bomber, getting his name all over New York with his handwriting and markers but as with every single writer regardless of fame or whatever, he started off with a tag. A tag, you know them things you absolutely despise and do not understand. Tags are the absolute fundamental to any graffiti masterpiece you'll every see. I'm going to show you an example of another writer as a better example. As notorious as Taki was, unfortunately his letters never developed to funkmaster fresh but he created a platform for millions to prosper.
Here may or may not be (howiya lads we're the gards) some of the earlier work of one of Ireland's greatest exports in the graffiti scene, Conor Harrington. Conor has been a tagger, a bomber and as much as the 'High Art' people would not like to admit it, is probably one of Ireland's greatest artists.
Now check out his other steez here and here http://www.conorharrington.com/
The reason I'm showing you Conor's work is because you know that whack little tag you see on the street? When given the time, encouragement, permission and supplies this is what that little langball from Cork can produce. Now don't get me wrong, not all bombers end up like Conor, and not all Conors end up like bombers.
So now you can see how that little category number two bomber has went his peaceful ways to becoming a category 3 Happy Legal Waller. Or is he simply writing under a different alias and continuing to bomb, who knows? But find out next season on... Another pretty successful graffiti artist from Ireland is Maser. Here's a quick little whip of Maser's work.
'That's great arty on the wall and all man but I still don't really understand why people would bother bombing??' - Marty Morrissey
Jesus christ I really don't know the answer myself Marty but I do have some questions for you. Yeah nah I do ask the why question from time to time and have absolutely no answer. Why do bombers drive hours to the middle of Fermanagh, with no message or purpose but painting their name. Is it about their ego, and constant massaging it through being acknowledged by their graffiti colleagues or likes on instagram. Is it some sort of existential crisis? Is it if they die tomorrow at least bombers have left memoirs? Is it some primitive thing where they are cavemen drawing on walls? Is it some anarchist shit that advertisers and big corporations can put billboards where they want but the little dude can't have a say in what his eyeballs are polluted with? Is it for the public? Is it for the public so they know not everyone's bent over in a rat race? Or is it for the public to say 'ah lookat the big colourdy wall!'? Is it just another art form.
It's pretty much all them things and a lot more, but I think more importantly it's (probably) soooooooo much fucking craic.
Apparently, according to other writers, bombing is: sleepless nights with some of your best friends that you only know because of graffiti. Travelling the world and not being able to speak the same language but fuck, you can drink beer and bomb motorways together. Endless scars and stories. Getting trapped under bridges because of rivers rising, sleeping underneath cars, getting sun stroke and having to drink your own piss. Making friends with guard dogs, and not making friends with other guard dogs. Looking your friend in the eye as you both take a nervous poo on a rooftop overlooking the dark knights lights. Dark nights in cells and ridiculously hefty fines. To some this might sound like no craic, but different strokes and all that.
Getting into high security buildings and seeing sunrises from places others will never see. According to bombers, everything is run like a military operation. Bolt cutters, train timetables and new padlocks. Knowing khaki green/dark red is the best camouflage complimenting the orange street light and black is not on the spectrum of colour so it stands out. Knowing the cops switch at 6am, and that the little fairies put little sparkles in the chrome/silver so you can see the paint at night (that's why a lot illegal graffiti is silver). The little magnets from speakers can be attached to the bottom of your can to stop them from rattling.
Bombers could literally be out robbing banks but they're happy enough going full fisher-price and painting their name. And as renegade as the sound the subculture also have a few rules, here's a simplified version:
Paint only public or commercial property and not private
No churches, place of worship, graves or statues.
No cars or vans
Don't be a kunt
Practice in a sketchbook and develop style before ruining the party on everyone (I have not included all the other politics of graffiti)
The point of this blog was not only to educate people on graff but to kind of open peoples eyes up to what a tag is and maybe to not be so ignorant to them. You can still hate them and that's absolutely fair enough, I whole-heartedly understand. While I may not bomb I love seeing others do it because not only do I know the work that has went into developing a handstyle (unique font), I know that it means this kid isn't letting society fuck him over. They've found a hobby or a purpose and there's a 90% chance they will one day end up in a relevant full-time job because of what they've learned from graffiti. These people could be designing you new company logo, animating a new disney movie, be in parliament in Finland (true story) or making clothes you might wear. Even that famous street artist everyone knows might be a famous musician who's been sitting in front of your face all that time.
"Graffiti has fucked me and hugged me over vice versa, versa vice then took a left and then back around the roundabout to fuck me and hug me again. Quite like that sentence. As cliché as this sounds, graffiti saved my life. It's had me in the darkest of holes, physically and mentally, but at the highest peaks, physically and mentally arís. The same little runt wiping his arse with doc leaves in Waterford and then up pops my strawberry blonde noggin on American TV. Sleeping in ditches and having rugby players and celebrities I've admired my entire life compliment my own work. More importantly it's taught me everything I know that I can now follow this dream of making clothes." - (Gandhi, Mahatma. 2016)
So yeah hate the tag, just try look a bit beyond it.
The blog was also to show how cul graff iz. GRafff kid 3f's x