Tag Archives: graffiti artists

Does the Recession mean a cut back on Graffiti?

6 Mar

For the most part, Culture suffers in recession. Arts and media are the first to be hit by public spending cuts as they are seen as non-essential to our lives and communities.

So the tax money is spent elsewhere and consumer spending is reduced as households try to economise  in uncertain times under the the pressure of inflating prices and reduced wages.

For those who do have the money to invest in the arts, recession will often provide more profitable and secure investment opportunities such as property or shares which will, upon recovery, yield greater returns.

But how does recession effect those actually creating art?

The obvious areas to look at might be the price of materials or whether a person might have the spare income to purchase them.  This may well be a concern for many classic artists using traditional media. Contemporary artists have made use however, of recycled materials, junk some might say, which does not cost anything at all. Crafts have also become popular in recession in order to “mend and make do”.



Apart from the affordability of art in the recession, we must explore the desire to create art, the inspiration that drives a person to want to communicate through artistic endevours.  It is said that great art is born from struggle; a perfect and harmonious world would not stir the same frustrations or emotions that has for thousands of years been depicted throughout history.

A recent example of this would be the Banksy’s of this world; armchair revolutionaries who spent their time finding something satirical to say about modern politics or culture to inspire their stencil cutting and public format.

80's graffitiHowever a great modern movement, which encompassed the arts as a whole,  was born out of very similar circumstances as we find our communities in today. The Hip Hop movement essential created something out of nothing. It reused and sampled old music where there was no money to produce new sounds. It saw dance and rhyme perfected on playgrounds, car parks, wasteland and street corners where there was little else to do. Hip Hop gave birth to the artistic styling of graffiti as we know it today, not by the academic elite, but by kids who reflected what they absorbed through the media, in brands, on billboards and in the pages of comic books and made something fresh and new.

Graffiti art would later influence art in its entirety, the sources from which it took its forms, techniques and adaptations would later re-adopt these common features.

As an unpermitted platform for art, graffiti will benefit and we may see an even greater amount of work on our streets due to the recession as both funding for policing and security and also the resources to quickly clean up are reduced. This could be perceived as both a positive and a negative depending on what side of the tracks you are viewing it from. However the vibriant visual side of graffiti was born from the circumstances which allowed it to flourish in the late 70’s and early 80’s; a tag became a dub, a dub became a panel piece and a group of panel pieces became mural productions.  The same circumstances are we are now in during this current recession. My only hope is that this new generation of graffiti artists use the opportunity to great effect in producing work in our communities that inspires and educates and will later become respected, rather than just a running a campaign of damage.

Art has the power to inspire change, educate minds and transform lives and communities. I hope the new generation of Manchester Graffiti Artists are about to wield that power to great effect.s