Audacious Art

“I am for an art that does something other than sit on its ass in the museum. I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero. I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.”

– Claus Oldenberg “I Am For Art” 1961

Lush, Brunswick

Lush, Brunswick

The anarchic nature of street art and graffiti, the illegal work, questioning of the law is one of the main strength of street art. The audacity of street artists in climbing and trespassing is an aspect of street art that cannot be transferred to the art gallery.

The classic mythic avant-garde artist who lived and died in garrets have been replaced by the new professional artists in clean studios and promoted by curators and galleries. The artist has become an administrator, writing submissions, applications and project specifications. This is not an interesting story – it lacks romance and drama. The public wants art that has romance and drama that doesn’t sit coolly in an art gallery self-assured of its own immortal relevance.

Street art collector Andrew King sums this up: “What I really like is when people go up on the side of buildings, weird dangerous places. They’re literally risking their lives just for their art. You’ve got to admire it. They’re not going to sell it or get anything out of it, except the kudos that they get from their mates and their crew and other writers.” (The Bureau Magazine, v.1 no.2 p.11)

I could go on to write about climbing and writing high up in the heavens but I’m going to look elsewhere.

Jetso & Pezzer, Fitzroy

Jetso & Pezzer, Fitzroy

The audacity of street and graff artists is something that is admired about street artists but they can also royal pains in the ass in annoyance, persistence and lack of respect. Lush and the team of Jetso and Pezzer currently Melbourne’s most audacious royal pains in the ass are. (Not that I mean this in a bad way – my wife’s favourite song is Wire’s “I am the Fly” and she love’s Lush’s cats, so I’m guessing that this is one of the reasons she loves me. And not, that they are the only street and graff artists in Melbourne who are annoying pains.) If one of the purposes of art is to make you think then art that is annoying is a logical move.

Jetso & Pezzer

Jetso & Pezzer

Jetso and Pezzer tag everywhere they can get. Lush is a cheeky fellow.

Lush, Brunswick

Lush, Brunswick

I also like this quote from Bombing Science interview with Lush.

BS: What’s your sign?

Lush: I’m under the sign of the black mark.


About Mark Holsworth

Writer and artist Mark Holsworth is the author of two books, The Picasso Ransom and Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Audacious Art

  • Joe

    It’s nice to see someone from the other side of the spectrum not bagging graffiti as territorial markings or petty vandalism, but embracing it as the misunderstood form of art that it is. There are some assholes out there that provoke an ill-opinion of writers as a whole but a LOT of people in the game are in it for the love, the adrenaline rush, that feeling of satisfaction. They do it for free, goddamnit.

    • Mark Holsworth

      Thanks Joe, I try to understand graffiti in different ways and I don’t want to say the same things as everyone else. The adrenaline rush is part of the audacity in the aesthetics of graffiti.

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