Muralist vs Graffitist vs Tagger

Good murals add colour and interest to an inner-city neighbourhood. I admire the designs and appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating them. It doesn’t matter what city I find myself in, I always come across murals that draw my attention and engage my thoughts.

A few days ago, I came across a couple of murals behind a strip mall. One of the businesses in that mall is a tattoo shop called Goodfellas Ink and this first mural references them in the signature GFInk. Perhaps one of the tattooists created the mural; I don’t know. Regardless, it is a fascinating image and I have spent quite a bit of time looking at it and wondering about it.

The second mural is actually a series of images that may be by more than one artist. The styles of the images’ designs vary quite a lot. What affected me most, though, was the lack of respect shown by subsequent graffiti artists or taggers who have drawn or written over the top of the original images.

I know that it is considered normal for one mural artist to paint over the work of another, but it strikes me as wrong to do this if the result is to obscure the better work. In particular, I was irritated that someone would draw a moustache and beard on an otherwise interesting and dramatic portrait.

Presumably, all graffiti artists respect one another enough to know when something is stimulating and well-executed and will leave it alone, especially if they cannot do better. But, I suppose that kind of respect requires them to know when their own talent has shortcomings.



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