What is a city without culture? what is culture without the influence of art? I could show you images of traditional Danish sculptures & paintings – but times have evolved. GRAFFITI is one aspect of art that a majority of Danes have grown to appreciate. Let me be clear – there is a big difference between graffiti and ‘tagging’. Also, for context, I will include some traditional public sculptures & murals that caught my attention in the same manner as the modern & recent works.
Even beautiful, traditional, architecture can add to the semblance of a sanitized & sterile city through repetition – however, a bit of pop & color (done in good fashion) can add character or charm to a neighborhood; hell, it might even increase visitors to local businesses.
If you look at the landscape there are medieval facades, structures & buildings alongside modern day architecture. You have historical art in museums & outdoor sculptures standing bold with patina. Then there are the galleries that have a mixture of old art techniques & new school applications. Just because the modern day artist may pick up an acrylic spray can versus acrylic paint shouldn’t lessen the quality of the art, in my opinion (plus, have you tried to control those cans? damn near impossible without the right tools and understanding). There are reference sketches these artists use and well planned methods to execute blending, shading, etc. What I appreciate about graffiti is how it is public art (accessible to all) and not locked away behind doors after 7pm.
I attended a graffiti competition (16 July 2015) called “Spray Off”. at least 16 local artists completed murals & the area is plastered with past work. There was even an area set up for children & other youth to try their hand at the art form. Around the city there is plenty of construction taking place & these sites are enclosed by tall green facades. As a result of the inconvenience (mostly the visual blight) the city has arranged a program where people can submit a request to make a work of art on these boards & the city also supplies the paint & materials. This is an interesting balance to try to ‘cover up’ the ugliness of construction.
When done correctly, graffiti creates and contributes – not destroys or takes away from a culture or society. I appreciate the Danes who have pushed against the antiquated understandings and perceptions of what is classified as art and encourage these pops of color through visual stimulation to the dormant areas of our psyche.