The Writing’s on the Wall…and the Jeans…and the T-shirt

The Writing’s on the Wall…and the
Jeans…and the T-shirt,
Robert Hinchcliffe, Spark

Graffiti has been around forever. Robert Hinchcliffe traces the
origins of ‘political graffiti’ all the way back to the 19th
century when an Austrian named Kryselak ‘tagged’ his name all over
the country. Graffiti is still political, Hinchcliffe claims, but
it is in danger of being co-opted by corporate culture. Writing in
the Canadian webzine Spark, Hinchliffe warns that the immense
popularity of hip-hop culture — within which graffiti exists —
has made the revolutionary art form a marketable commodity. ‘The
corporate instinct,’ he writes, ‘honed over generations and capable
of recognizing trends before they really even exist, has wasted no
time at all in harnessing the revolutionary spirit behind ‘street
art’ and has shrewdly recognized that while graffiti is primarily
an underground culture, it also exists as a highly recognizable
media text (more important if you’re an ad man), firmly ingrained
in the consciousness of the populous.’
–Anjula Razdan
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