There are few things in this world that harness the ability to connect people of all ages, colours and creeds. I’ve always found that alongside dance and music, art is probably one of the only elements that individuals interact with day in day out, and in many cases, it’s what draws people together.
After that fact, you start to analyse what art actually is, and how to generate creativity. There’s no concrete formula on how to become creative or how to tailor it, but in my twenty-two years of life I’ve learnt it’s pretty fucking important to have.
Every nook and cranny from Sydney, to the favelas in Rio, has a hidden beauty – or several - that serve as artistic inspiration. Ask just about any artist and they’ll tell you one of the most crucial starting points for producing decent work is the location. A good spot incorporates various things, from the mere surface one intends to use, to the actual geographical location. For those that aren’t necessarily famous or in a public spotlight for their work, these locations are a haven; shielding them from any outside scrutiny and letting them find solace in the soundlessness of the bricks and mortar – if only just for a short time.
My early teenage years were spent traversing the local landscape, from claustrophobic drain systems that opened up into sprawling concrete playgrounds, to crumbling rail houses along the Brisbane Metro lines. The work I did was never spectacular – art is such a strong word to use when describing it – however, there’s an unspeakable feeling that you get when you’re in a space like the ones aforementioned. When you’re standing on the third floor of a building that the council has condemned and listed for demolition, surrounded by walls literally dripping with colourful aerosol in the form of words and images, it’s almost as if – even just for a few brief moments while you practice – the world around you seems to stop revolving. You’re caught in a subtle trance, especially if you’re doing it solo.
For many, the joy of painting at these types of locations - known to some as ‘day spots’ - is amplified exponentially when you’ve got creative company. For instance, breaking away from society for a morning or afternoon can be enjoyed with a six pack of beers and Mos Def banging away on the speaker system. Well in truth, that’s my personal preference. I don’t doubt that this simple pastime will attract its fair share of whiny humans that lack the ability to see what this lifestyle is all about. I hear them scold the activities of restless youth and deem the apparent ‘destruction’ of already half destroyed properties – or pristine drains that not even council workers have laid eyes on – a travesty. Fair enough, but for the thousands of people that find pride and meaning in expressing themselves on a secretive – albeit illegal – canvas, it’s vitally important.
What the majority fail to realise is that it isn’t even about art; it’s about individuals finding themselves. I’m going to end on a cliché note from something pulled out of the John F. Kennedy archives, where he said; “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him”. If that’s the case, then the dingy, uninhabited shack on your corner is getting bombed.
Photo Credit: Steven Garrett Photography