Graffiti: good and/or bad?

On the train last Sunday to Liège it was difficult to ignore the tags and graffiti scrawled over trains and carriages and walls and bridges. Sometimes, tags can be pretty. Mostly, this urban scribble is offensive to the eye. But where to draw the line? I have long been a fan of the likes of Banksy and it seems to me that Brussels has quite a few imitators. When a piece of graffiti is well done it can be attractive. I spotted the example in my picture in downtown Brussels the other day. I spotted it by chance, for it is on a wall in a not particularly well frequented street. The tree trunk is real enough. The branch behind it is a witty piece of graffiti, complete with transistor radio with wings. I like the anonymity of it; the fact that somebody had the idea and then spent time preparing the stencil and stealthily painting the branch, and it is neither messy nor offensive. And yet, technically-speaking, it is a piece of vandalism.


  1. Peter Dean

    Graffiti is just plain bad. In the current exhibition at the Villa Boghossian there is an installation with a real bare tree trunk in front of a white wall onto which is projected the shadow of the trunk and a video where branches and leaves sprout from the trunk and then fall and die until it is bare again. And the blue swimming pool still echoes with the sounds of long-gone parties.

  2. Alex Vella Gera

    I recall a fantastic piece of graffiti art between Gare Luxembourg and Etterbeek station. It has since been erased. Fortunately it was immortalized on video:

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