To wrap up Arty Fynch, we have one last interview to fill the curiosity gap.
Keeping in mind the news of protests, and our posts about “Songs of Revolution” in both, the Arab World and South Asia, we decided to talk about visual art in revolution-and a form of art which is a revolution in itself: graffiti.
We have an artist here with us, so here we go!
Please introduce yourself so our readers know who we’re talking too.
My name is Fatema Siddiki, I am a visual communicator, based in LA for around six years now. I decided to dabble into entrepreneurship after finishing grad school from UCLA. Now, I paint, write, design, and advocate for auto-immumune diseases.
I founded a therapeutic art community “Art Meets Healing”. I help people learn to process their emotions via abstract art, which is especially important in a COVID-hit world, where we all are struggling to keep our mental health in check.
Is graffiti regarded as real art?
Graffiti is a form of expression, art and emotions. I think these days, it is also considered as an imminent form on contemporary art. Travelling worldwide, art on walls is a common phenomenon. Like living in LA, I myself have seen so many art pieces and murals on the street. Its actually very beautiful, and in some places, like NYC and Miami, there are streets dedicated to beautiful graffiti alone. Compassion, love and empathy go hand in hand with any form of art, as well as graffiti.
As its considered vandalism, should such an illegal activity be promoted amongst artists?
Well, I would agree with the fact that graffiti isn’t always pleasant. Hate speech does come in. So personally, for me, as long as the message is hopeful, graffiti should be promoted, as well as art. However, it shouldn’t be damaging someone’s property or hurting their sentiments.
We have graffiti artists, and we have people doing graffiti for the sake of doing graffiti, which is basically vandalism. So yes, it definitely is a form of art and an art movement in itself. The immensely successful Banksy is just one example of great graffiti artists.
Graffiti, also known as street art, has become a large part of counter-culture movements, why is that and why not any other form of art?
Other art movements are artistic. Graffiti is different. For one, graffiti is out there, for everyone to see. Art is usually a taste of the elite otherwise. Thus, when we speak of culture, no culture of any sort can exist unless everyone embraces it, regardless of class.
Besides, it is also a political movement of sorts. With political turmoil, upheaval, upset public, and civil wars, such as Palestine, Syria, Iraq or Egypt, bold impressions are made with graffiti to mark the end of an era, to document revolution. It is part of an effort to strive to create a better future.
The wars going on in the Arab world, the artists are getting an immense amount of outreach, and thus, both empathy and sympathy, by throwing their art onto social media. Thus, I feel like while graffiti is blurring lines between political movements and art, it can also be used as leverage by the people, for the people!
Why is there a stigma against it?
I feel like these days, while we talk of contemporary art, graffiti does fall into it. It is different from traditional art because traditionally, art is active, and the viewer is passive. For instance, from the Renaissance era, and other old art eras, the painter was painting objectivity, even subjective paintings, kept the viewer passive, to observe and understand. Graffiti artists paint what they feel. They actively work to trigger emotions, and at times, create outrage with their art. Triggering is a double-edged sword, they either love you, or they hate you for it.
Every art era has had its disrupters. If we talk about impressionism, which began after realism, it broke away from traditional or academic art. It was a break from pretty landscapes. Claude Monet was a very famous artist who was rejected by salons, for modernism in art and went on to hold his own exhibitions. Picasso too started the revolution of cubism. Subjectivity was a thing of the past. He picked away at paintings, broke off the art, and put it the pieces back together like a de-arranged jigsaw.
Graffiti artists have been gaining popularity in the mainstream art world in recent years, names such as Banksy's becoming well known, is this a trend that will continue to grow or fade away with time?
Graffiti today, is respected and loved. Many artists have made themselves a name through graffiti art. David Choe and Basquiat are also two of my favourites, after Banksy.
There is no doubt that this art form will not only survive but certainly thrive, given the need for art, expression, and a form of art which can be unapologetically fused with politics in the world we’re living in today, and where we see it heading in the future. George Floyd was just one example of how the world comes together to express its feelings through graffiti!
And that’s a wrap folks. We hope you enjoyed it!