Sporting Times

Buford Youthward

Using graff as a tool to get out of somewhere is a way of thinking without looking.

In other sports (especially urban sports such as basketball), talented and idealistic practitioners who hail from less-than-affluent upbringings feel their talent is a ticket. As if they can take flight on the wings of their skills and ability. I think that's a false journey and also an ugly hope.

Those blessed with talent should never run, get out or jet away from who they are. We all carry "where-we-come-from" inside of us. We can try to run but it's as effective as a dog chasing its tail. Athletes may feel like they have arrived when they have reached the professional level. But they haven't "gotten out the ghetto," they have gotten "in" somewhere else. Trading government housing for luxury digs is an admirable accomplishment, but hardly any of these fortunate few that maintain any form of truth in their hearts neglect their past.

Graff writers with Madison Avenue aspirations may generate cries of disservice when they try to bring their game to the table. I say it's not worth the noise. Those that believe being a professional is equivalent to being corrupt are little more than trust-fund rebels.

There are differences between selling out and cashing in. But there is no illusion to hide behind when you have lost yourself. Stealing away into a bank account at the expense of graffiti is by far a more common practice instituted by those outside the initiated circle of raw, burning fingertips and enamel encrusted fingernails than those in the clique.

If we exercise a bit of forethought, begin to institute our own personal vision, we stand a better chance of manifesting the heaven or hell of our dreams. It is who we are that inevitably comes through in anything that we do. Talents are just vehicles awaiting application. How you channel your energy is your business, along with the consequences.

The graff writer itching for a paycheck may take the low road from time to time and will have to field any (un)deserved cat calls. But they'll be all right so long as they keep in mind the sport of graffiti may get them in places but it will never get them out of anything.

Read more in Byline

Art Crimes Front Page