Graffiti artists of the world,
If you haven’t had a Washington Post blog article written about you by now, you very likely suck.
Why do you suck? Since you hide in the shadows- anonymous beyond a boringly cryptic alias- you haven’t received any healthy feedback from the world. And I’m about to fix that.
Maybe Jim and Daniel- the two guys you passed time with in homeroom, crafting tags and drawing blunts on people in your textbook- once encouraged you, and maybe they still do. But Jim also encouraged you to run headfirst into a shed at that party, and Daniel still expects to marry a model- despite his Yellow Bastard-like appearance, poor social skills, and the fact that he faintly smells of urine, sweat, and mildew, even right after a shower. It’s objectively true to everyone other than Jim and Daniel that you suck.
What you do- your art- sucks. It’s fucking garbage.
Ask anyone who has traveled, and they will tell you, it’s the same tiresome graffiti in every city all over the world. It’s the same in Geneva, it’s the same in Toronto, it’s the same in Hong Kong, it’s the same in rural Netherlands. Not even small towns are safe. Everywhere has been smeared by other carbon copies of you- except there’s a crown ontop of the ‘S’ in SPEX, or a chrome effect on SKAM, or bags under the eyes of equally minimalist, barely creative, cartoon characters. Your array of spray can colors is part of a blur effect painting the whole world a boring grey.
You are not original. You have no special talent. Your skills are negligible. You need to be less confident, less outgoing, and less productive. If being a great graffiti artist is your dream, you either need to give it up or spend the next year of your life on LSD, hermetically sealed away, studying art, media, and philosophy. You need to fundamentally change the way your brain works. And even then… is there any hope? Unless you have been condemned to gang life and need to communicate territorial boundaries, there is absolutely no value to the work you do.
No matter how elaborate your font gets, or how challenging it was for you to get that joint-smoking robot painted on the overpass, it’s been done countless times before.
No one is impressed, no one worth offending is offended, and your ‘act of rebellion’ is only revealing how pathetically conformist you really are. You would serve the world better as a mindless, silent consumer. Or maybe not. Maybe even as mindless drones, fully enveloped in the hegemony of modern consumer culture, you and your ilk will not, and cannot achieve the Heideggerian ideal of ‘dasein;’ you are, and forever will be “socially constructed” to a fault. Your art suffers for it, and because you share it with us, we all suffer for it.
Graffiti hasn’t been new and exciting for many years, and the most elaborate 3D-effects won’t change the two-dimensional political messages you include in an effort to be relevant. ‘Stop Wars’ in the Star Wars font? Wow, my life is changed. I’m going to call my local government representative, tell him to pull our troops from Djibouti, and then I’m kicking in this cop’s windshield.
You need to truly, deeply, and wholly understand how boring you are being. Replace the light fixture in your room with dull overhead office lighting; exchange the Slim Thug ‘Already Platinum’ vinyl album cover on your wall for the most decent-looking framed picture found in The Dollar Store; and modify every music playing device around you so it will only play selections from the most workplace-friendly, rarely updated, Spotify playlist.
Take low-intensity, beginner’s Zumba classes at the local rec center. Sit still and consume a large bowl of lukewarm porridge with tap water every morning, making sure to chew each mouthful 5–10 times. Wear an old H&M fedora.
You should be surrounded and constantly assailed by the boring, so you will know that this is the world you have created.
I was once like you, I had a tag: ‘Flem.’ Next to it I would draw a squinty-eyed face with a big nose. It was stupid. I was 13. My friend tagged with me; his tag was ‘Numb.’ Although he neglected to misspell it, it was also stupid. He was also 13. We stopped after a couple months and never did anything grandiose. But you didn’t stop, you’re being stupid and juvenile in bigger, louder, more embarrassing ways.
I can’t threaten you. I don’t know your identity and cannot possibly intervene to make your artwork worse than it already is. But I can tell you honestly and from the heart: you fucking suck. Just stop.