Graffiti or spray can art?

What’s the difference between graffiti and spray can art? I considered this today as I was walking past the ‘legal’ wall given over to the graffiti makers by the council.


The users are supposed to register first and must keep their work to a designated area on the skate park. I admired the bold use of colour but, as always, I found the works boring.

Where was the creativity? The imagery? Why was it all just words and mainly names at that? Surely, the graffiti makers must spend time planning their designs? Do none of them want their work to stand out, to be different?

Take a look at British spray can artist, Xenz (aka Graeme Brusby), and his delicate use of the medium to paint these fanciful images of birds.

Orioles by Xenz

Maybe this kind of painting is a bit too whimsical for the young graffiti artists but it shows what can be done with spray paint.

The elusive London artist, ‘Banksy’, now has celebrity status. According to Wikipedia, his identity is unknown but, and I love this bit, he was part of the ‘Great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 80s’. He often uses an aerosol stencilling technique  to create works on sides of buildings in London. His works are photographed and admired and then, as is the nature of graffiti, they are painted over by someone else. This is ‘Banksy Maid’ in Chalk Farm before it was removed.

Maid by Banksy

So, come on Newcastle aerosol artists. Get creative. Time is running out. Your days are numbered at the skate park site. The council have voted to close the area to spray can users. Astound Newcastle public with a show of imagination!


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