Root of a Revolution
Daryll McCray better known as Cornbread began writing in the slums of Philadelphia in 1968. Forty years later he is recognized as one of the original writers of american graffiti. Prior to his public expression of love and despair, there were few signs that suggested the global profusion of mass culture art that is grafffiti today.
But graffiti is nothing new. It has been a vehicle for dissemination of discontent for centuries. Writing in the streets has also been an affront to absolute power but more importantly it has been a bitter tincture for countless individuals in coping with disenfranchisement, destitute and oppression at the hands of authoritarianism.
Message in a Spray Can
Why are some messages deems acceptable but rebuttals are not tolerated? Because graffiti is about destruction of the fragile facade of a rosy-colored reality propagated by the status quo.
The definition of expression has broadened to include previously black-listed forms. The visual component of graffiti has become the imagery of the masses. You will be hard pressed to find someone who does not recognize the poster that got Obama elected. Yet few have processed the fact that the creator of such a powerful image considers himself a graffiti artist.
Global trends are unstoppable, as we see from the migration of humans from Mexico or the degradation of the environment. Trend of this magnitude become overwhelming only to those who are unable to recognize the sources of the dynamic as they are incapable of understanding that mega-trends can only be steered towards a desired result. No less than a mega-trend, hip-hop culture of graffiti art has insinuated itself worldwide. And not a minute so soon.
The power of street art lies in the surprise. To inadvertently wander upon an indelible image with social and political relevance is priceless. Of course corporate interest do not want unsanctioned public commentary that questions their construct. This is because one of the pillars of graffiti is the destruction of illusion with the vandalizing of the vortex that vilifies true artistic expression and funnels all its resources to perpetuating the myth of Freedom. If you were charged with keeping order would you tolerate those who rattle the cages of oppression? Would you be the one to cast the first stone?
This is the face of the new urban swamp. Miami does not exist in a bubble. Today is a great day for Primary Flight, champions for the cause to create a museum of the streets. Indeed the metro-dade sign police must be spinning its wheels to identify what is sanctioned and what is not. The thrill of illicit art may be gone but the remnants of power process persist.
Urban decay is on the rise but don't blame me. In these tough economic times, folks need to let off a little steam. What better way than to take an abandoned cola distribution plan and bomb it to high heaven.
From the ashes of our economic depression rise a flock of flaming phoenix to usher in the proliferation of the peoples art. I should have bought stock in spray paint before the crash.
The Next Generation
The youth remind us what most geezers conveniently forget. The rebellious young artist can not be broken by propaganda devised to induce complacency using fear to persuade the lowly masses. We are told that graffiti is bad and billboards are good. I say the graffiti is misunderstood and billboards are visual pollution.
Why not take a moment to reflect on the reasons why mega-trends are unstoppable. What are the root causes for expressions of discontent? Why is hip-hop so wildly popular worldwide?
Why is the power elite freaking out about Wikileaks? As Wikileaks continues to reveal the hypocrisy and dirty laundry of world power players, it becomes obvious that the time is ripe to do some laundry and see what comes out in the wash.
No Brittos Here
By now hundreds and thousands of visitors to Miami have experienced first-hand the awesome embrace of street art that currently defines the Miami Arts Awakening movement in the swamp. Little did county official with their Romero imagine that they would be upstaged and left in the dust by the formidable force of the people's art.
Graffiti is not just bubble letters and nasty bombings. It has morphed into a exquisite expression of the richness of our culture. Graffiti is the language of the street and it belongs to you. Like a crazy cousin who you cant help but love, graffiti is now woven into the fabric of our society and it is wildly beautiful (most of the time).
At the Wynwood Walls you will find the starting point for a tour of street art like no other in South Florida. This is the real deal folks, family friendly and most empowering.
Retna of the Mind
Open you hearts and read the message in the spray can. Graffiti is no longer a four letter word. It is the work of your friends and neighbors in the arts community who have stepped up to the wall to say, "Justice for All".