Post-'Bomb It' ruminations

I recently attended a screening of music video director Jon Reiss’ new feature, Bomb It!: The Global Graffiti Documentary. And even though I left the theatre feeling enlightened, informed and impressed, I also exited with some very strong views on the act of “bombing.”

Firstly, there are taggers. They go around the city writing their names in marker or spray paint in lettering only legible to other writers. You see it on walls, buses, subways, washroom stalls, phone booths, etc. To the average eye, it does not look like much, even though they have made considerable effort to develop their style. However, their tags do not contribute anything to the city they are marking. It is an act of narcissism, to be recognized simply because they exist.

Next on the list are the writers. They also tag their cities but their names appear bigger and with more style. They are often colourful and far more imaginative than the above-mentioned tag. While their motivations may still be the same (to be recognized), at least they are creating something that gives reason to recognize them and can be appreciated by more than just other writers – and considering that includes the majority of the city, it is less a blot on the landscape.

Finally, there are the graffiti artists. Their work is the most artistic and widely favourable. They claim public space to display their talent and share their creations with the greatest number of people possible. Their work ranges from political commentary to social critique to art for art’s sake. They are admired by passersby and coveted by various corporations.

Graffiti raises the question of public space – who does it belong to? If the answer is everyone, should bombers not be accountable to the rest of the public (not the authorities) by at least contributing (by statement or art) to the neighbourhoods they bomb?

The Best of Popjournalism
Meet Jann Arden, best-selling author
Books & PublishingNov 24, 2004
Til Schweiger takes flight in 'The Red Baron'
CelebritiesMar 11, 2010
Inside the world of Perez Hilton, star blogger
CelebritiesSep 10, 2006
Tanner Zipchen brings a bit of the Prairies to Hollywood
Media & AdvertisingMar 21, 2016
Full Disclosure
Media & AdvertisingJul 27, 2001
The Return of Wild Strawberries
MusicSep 10, 2005
Caged Wild Strawberries?
MusicNov 8, 2000
Leigh Nash flies solo
MusicAug 14, 2006