Bomb It 2

Bomb It 2

Bomb It 2

directed by Jon Reiss

MVD Visual

I have mixed feelings about graffiti as an art form. Some installations are extremely impressive, particularly when you consider they may have been painted in pitch black with the imminent threat of arrest or violent dispersion. On the other hand, my travels to various world capitols have shown me gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings spattered with incomprehensible symbols and works with a generic disrespect for the artists that were before them. In other words, just because you CAN spray paint a mural in a hip-hop, post-Keith Haring style doesn’t mean it needs to be on the front of the National Opera building. But 1960s Soviet-style Brutalist apartment buildings and piss-soaked metro underpasses? You can’t do anything to make them look worse, so knock yourself out.

In this full-length documentary on the world-wide graffiti scene, we meet the crème de la crème of the spray-painting scene. Whether they work alone or in groups, they try to change the world one concrete wall at a time. “HK Wall” does its thing beneath the shiny towers of Hong Kong capitalism while “Foner” hides behind a tiger mask and bemoans the hectic pace of dealing with graffiti tourism in Bangkok. “Klone” paints complex and heavily symbolic anti-war pieces in Bethlehem as Andy Ma brags endlessly about his business based on street art and light boxes in Melbourne, Australia. He equates street art with advertising, and the connection is natural. You might not want to see wall art murals on your commute, and you are probably equally unhappy with a pop-up on Amazon or Yahoo, but it is there anyway. “Deal with it” is their attitude, and deal with it we must.

What comes out of this film isn’t necessarily an appreciation of color and shading, but of the ability of people to make personal marks on their environments. These range from the Palestinian politics of Bethlehem to the hip-hop coolness of Copenhagen or the laid back vibe of Bangkok art forgers working for charity. Some artists are very open about who they are, while others are heavily masked. All of them agree on a few things, though: graffiti is art for the people and is transient, vibrant, and alive. There’s no gallery system, no graffiti art critics or collectors; it either appears on your wall, or it doesn’t. Artists comment on their environments; we hear that Bangkok is a “society of perfectly balanced filth and beauty” while Bethlehem needs teams of five or more to stay alive. The Australians see painting as a positive economic development even if it can’t be taken home and entombed in a gallery. That is where the beauty of graffiti is — you can paint anything you want, and someone else will evaluate your work. And hopefully it won’t be painted over too quickly.

MVD Entertainment GroupBomb It 2

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Belly
    Belly

    Belly brought lot of grit and a touch of grace to the Bowery Ballroom in NYC.

  • Pickathon 2016
    Pickathon 2016

    Pendarvis Farms transforms for three extraordinary days into the fun and psychedelic fest of your wildest indie music loving dreams, Pickathon. Alexa Harris was there to experience the joys of farm life for the weekend.

  • Money Chicha
    Money Chicha

    Echo En Mexico (Vampisoul). Review by James Mann.

  • Micronotz reissues
    Micronotz reissues

    Mortal Micronotz, Smash, Live, The Beast that Devoured Itself, 40 Fingers (Bar/None). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Big Eyes
    Big Eyes

    Stake My Claim (Don Giovanni Records). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Various Artists
    Various Artists

    Money Maker (Studio One). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Pawns
    Pawns

    A triple bill of underground Goth, led by NYC’s Pawns, transforms Uncle Lou’s into a time machine. Jen Cray did not wear eye makeup, but she did wear a black shirt to the show.

  • Bossacucanova
    Bossacucanova

    The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Ranch Ghost
    Ranch Ghost

    Lookin’ (Rough Beast Records). Review by Jen Cray.

  • The Scientists
    The Scientists

    A Place Called Bad (The Numero Group). Review by James Mann.

From the Archives