The Pursuit of Beauty
"The most abstract of arts serves the dumbest emotions"
There's a fine line between impression and expression. To engage in the
creation of impact one must be concerned with degrees of involvement.
Once again, an analogy with music: The more it demands, the less it appeals
to wide audiences. There is a definite relationship between the complexity
of music and its popularity. In a world of numbers smart money bets on the ritualistic anthem over the improvised composition when trying to
secure stadium-level attendance.
A common source is at work behind the meaning of notes in music, the meaning
of words in literature and the meaning of signature in graffiti. The
unwritten esperanto of the emotions: tensions versus release, density versus
transparency, smooth versus angry, swelling versus subsiding, thunder versus
whisper. Yes, there is a faith of graffiti.
Graffiti can do much more if we allow it to. So many writers put a ceiling
on graff. I don't understand the relegation when everyone claims to sport
an "I-must-create-in-order-to-know-myself" attitude.
When gifted viewers lend themselves to the power of graffiti, they get both
the event and idealization of the event. There is something about graffiti
that keeps its distance even at the moment it engulfs us. It is at the
same time outside and away from us and inside and part of us. In one sense,
it minimizes us, and in another we enable it. We are led on and on, and yet
in some strange way we never lose control. Perhaps social conditioning
eventually has its way.
It is the very nature of graffiti to give us the distillation of sentiments
and the essence of experience transfused and heightened and expressed in
such fashion that we contemplate it at the same instant that we are swayed
The student of beauty is inside the event even though the graffiti keeps its psychological
distance. The graffiti writer should always stand unmoved by reaction or
criticism. Complete detachment. The process provides the pleasure, not the
end result. It's a game of means. The joy of graffiti comes from the
action not the product or finality of the act.
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