Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Decorate your playground

I saw this graffito recently at the Waitangi Park skate park:

Graffiti at the Waitangi Park skate park - 'Come on Sk8ers, decorate your playground'
Come on sk8ers, decorate your playground. While some might see that as an incitement to vandalism, I actually like the sentiment, and the sense of a subculture taking responsibility for shaping its own environment. And judging by the amount of new graffiti there since I last wrote about it, the skaters have been doing just that.

Not that everyone's pleased. Wellington Waterfront Ltd will soon be going to great lengths to remove the existing graffiti and graffiti-proof the surfaces, despite their original statement of "We accept the park is in an urban setting and graffiti art reflects that". While I agree that the tagging has spread too far, and that much of it is simply ugly scrawling (at least to my ageing bourgeois eyes), some of the pieces add real visual interest to the blank surfaces:

Graffiti at the Waitangi Park skate park - visual montageAnd there's this sequence that while visually unambitious, makes good use of the grilles and exudes a strange mix of humour and poignancy:

Graffiti at the Waitangi Park skate park - 'Help Me' sequenceI'll be sad to see some of this go. At least the official "graffiti walls" will stay, but while these have more colour and mainstream appeal, it seems contrary to the spirit of graffiti to corral it into officially sanctioned ghettos. Meanwhile, Stephen over at Dorking Labs has been tracking the further exploits of our old friend Neonate.


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