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Explaining the Graffiti of 18 Artists

Graffiti is one of the great modern art forms, insofar as anyone can do it anywhere.  Maybe not legally, but people still do it.  Some people are amazing, others are terrible, and they all put it out there for the rest of us to see and/or power wash off our walls.  Let’s take a moment to appreciate the genre and see if we can account for what some of the artists were aiming for with their work as divided into four easily identifiable categories.

Instructional

Instructional graffiti is the most useful kind as the graffito artist was kind enough to impart a message to you.  He or she wants you to do something and who knows, maybe you should.  If the instructions are clear enough, you’ll know just how to proceed.

 

As we can see here, this bathroom wall robot wants us to pay our taxes.  Added incentive, it’s what Jesus would do.  Who are you to argue with a robot, the Messiah and someone who takes Sharpies into the bathroom?

 Another individual concerned for your well being would like you to partake of less salty pork products and more push ups.  This is probably good advice for anyone whose ham to push up ratio is out of whack.  Don’t do the push ups in the bathroom though, because the odds on not getting a disease from that floor are slim.

This is a simple but important warning – when you see the Claw, you should stop.  Maybe ask for a photo.

 

Doubtless you may question the motives of this artist but hey, he must have had his reasons.  Most likely a strong, secret desire to sleep with his cousin and then a plan to put this put in public in the hopes it’d catch on and then make his own advances seem less terrifying.

This is helpful graffiti, insofar as it’s letting you know the state of the f*ck machine and what you can do in its absence.  Plus you save a quarter!  Buy some candy!

 

Observational

Observational graffiti just wants to tell you something, without a call to action.  Something is afoot and you need to know about it, but what you do with that knowledge is in your own hands.

It’s the state fair, it’s corn dogs and it’s your mom’s fat ass.  This makes perfect sense but still, it needs to be said.  Like if someone were to ask “where’s your mom?” this pretty much covers it.

 

This is a touch poetic while at the same time letting you know something valuable – a hairy ass and no toilet paper is something that should never be written about.

 

The poignancy of this cannot be stressed enough – while Toy Story 3 is the most recent in the storyline and received rave reviews, Toy Story 2 was actually even more well liked.  It has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes while part 3 has 99%.  So this bathroom film critic was really going against the grain here.

 

This is political and inflammatory all at once, which is a delight.  Look how Chipotle wants you to enjoy their chicken, while this tagger wants you to appreciate that somewhere there’s a tomato plantation run by dirty slavers out there.

 This is pretty self explanatory.

 

Riveting social commentary is hard to find these days.  What are you going to do, read a newspaper?  God, that’s boring.  And TV news is funnier than we could ever wish to be.  Does anyone take FOX seriously?  How?  Why?  Anyway, lower the price of train tickets.  They’re expensive.

You can’t argue with this graffiti, mostly because it doesn’t mean anything.  And while the way they dot their I’s is charming, it’s worth acknowledging the strong opinions of the illiterate and the delightfully penned messages their feeble little minds are trying to share with us.

 

Philosophical

Philosophical graffiti makes you think about something.  it’s poignant, maybe life changing, thanks to both the message and the forum in which it’s displayed.

Sex.  Procreation.  The act by which all of us came into existence.  Is there anything more human?  More representative of life itself?  To say nothing of donkey punching.  Yes.  This makes you think.

 

Modern society really has become so enclosed, hasn’t it?  Tight and forbidding, it is then ironic that now, those of us who seek freedom, do so by exploiting the toilet facilities of those who do not have the same freedom of movement the rest of us do.  The handicapped stall – the last tree vestige of urban freedom.

Cap n’Crunch.  The cereal that cuts your mouth.  The wall with a message that cuts your very soul.

 

Artistic

Artistic graffiti is the most acceptable to people at large, graffiti that expresses the true spirit of art.  It’s swell.

This wall is probably far deeper than anyone realizes.  White brick, dinosaur, heart, respect, feminism and paint in shades of pink, purple and turquoise.  The dinosaur represents the past, feminism obviously indicating the artist was concern with where woman came from and where they’re headed.  Or some shit like that.  Look at that dinosaur’s gimpy little legs! Ha ha!

 

Under the name Helen Passion Pants and adjacent to a pointy-headed, lipless Mildred is this stunning portrait of a nude Louie Anderson.  Is he watching you poo?  Or are you watching him while you poo?

This artist likes the Simpsons but obviously needs thicker glasses.

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