Getting Up! (in the new millennium)

18 Jun

NYC-trainVia the Internet, getting up has taken a whole new format for the younger generation. Posting pictures on public ‘graffiti’ sites, chat rooms, communities and groups.

This has proved to be the downfall of writers recently after several internet information based arrests in 2007. The case of 2 Manchester graffiti artists, demonstrated the link between communication technology and graffiti.

They had been arrested after hitting some trains, but not until the pictures were posted on the Internet and the User traced. It was the alternative use of the traditional canvas in this case, which made me think about the new technology behind getting a name up.

Hitting trains was a format taken up in New York initially (according to general understanding (there are always claims of ‘I did it first in art’)).

Why trains? The subway trains in New York were seen all round the city. It would be painted in the lay-up or yard overnight and then run its route the next day with the work in place, taking the art to the viewer.

The lack of surveillance and security technology at this point made it easier to be able to paint train yards for a substantial amount of time and reflect an image of some quality. Whether Style was the message, or people were just bombing for fame- many of the pioneers of the day used this format and since it has become an iconic canvas, despite being a ‘Dead format’ for getting seen in most modern cases.

Not only has it become much harder to get any amount of time to paint a train in the U.K, generally trains go straight to the cleaner and do not run with the last nights productions. Like the particular highlights and common features we see in productions, painting trains is looking back to the roots of the New York movement.NYC-train2

The fact that people were risking their freedom to paint trains, only to have to post pictures on the Internet in order for the train to be seen- highlighted the fact that these artists are now not adopting that canvas for the initial purpose it served the New York pioneers. They were however, following the principle that graffiti reflects how society communicates. The art is no longer for the public view and strength of the images has become diluted in order to adapt to the time scale available.

But still graffiti artists get respect for painting trains, not for artistic quality, not to be seen on the lines, but simply in reflection of the rare canvas the art is presented on. The communicative element being projected via the new tool of mass communication, the World Wide Web.

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