By scenting my art like a tom cat the tagger makes my territory his or her own. Takes it for themself. Desires, acquires, complements me. My work is worthy of notice, unlike the flat pavement, virgin yet unused canvas.
This youths hair is bristling. They have a grudge about this space use change in their territory. This tag is their voice. emitting a war cry. Ruler over their domain, they decree that any newcomer, any outsider, they will concede to accept only by branding them with their own mark (as one would a flock of sheep). And they have thus branded my work, taking it as their own. Ownership. Acquiring in a capitalist system. The tagger fights against the system by using its codes of acquisition against it.
Desire and acquisition, notions obviously deemed to be the exact opposite of criminal activity...
Artworks have always been destroyed and vandalised, targets for the opposition to dominant powers. Here, now, taggers, the modern manifestation of the anti-establishment. This is somewhat a paradox as often the artist or tagged artwork itself, represents a notion of opposition to that self same power that the tagger fights against.
But there are levels of hierarchy applicable to the vandal as artist and the vandal as criminal! The artist can scar the landscape with their work, invited. Uninvited the graffiti artist scars the art.
If all public domain art is prone to vandalism. If i design with the intent to prevent or reduce that act. I am always dilute.
It is accepted in other forms of media that creative products will be reworked. The music industry is brimming with cover versions and remixes that constantly morphs music's output and moves it forward. Equally a play is re-written and re-enacted countless times, each with a new layer added. Welcomed. For these other media, the source of the piece will surely still hold true. So i should equally accept that my own work will become layered by the voice of others, expanding it, whether those voices be of the local tagger, interventionist acts by artists, or even by the policies of the dominant powers themselves.
To make art without fear or compromise, accepting graffiti and acts of vandalism as a positive is to embrace reaction and critique.
(Written in response to a Public Art piece at Hemsby March 2010, being tagged within a day of installing it).