Hm I can see you narrow your eyes at me right now, but hold your retort. I’m about to address this topic. The topic of scribbles and scrawl of graffiti artist name on public property, is it vandalism or street art?
Well , in the first place what is tagging ?
Tagging is basically known as a stylized signature done in one colour by a graffiti writer.
Tags plastered on walls, street lamps, telephone boxes and other places in the city, at times it’s an eye sore to the uninitiated. However to those familiar, spotting the same tag over and over again all over the city by the same person, we know that there is someone that passed by the area and marked that area to say they were there.
The question now remains, why do they tag their artist name all over the city?
Before social media the traditional way to become famous was through getting to the gatekeepers of influence onto television or radio . Graffiti tagging is a way to bypass that and take matters into your own hands.
All you need is endless supply of markers and courage to go around the city in the dark and tag your name all over.
And if you are a young graffiti artist and eager to make yourself known in the world, tagging is a way for you to earn the respect of your graffiti peers because tagging is a lot of hard work.
You have to strategically figure out where’s the location with highest human traffic and eyes , plan when you tag so that you don’t get caught by the police,safely get to that location, tag, safely leave that location then repeat that for the next thousand attempts.
All over the city. Over and over again.
Why try to leave your mark in the world?
In the urban jungle, we struggle to feel like we matter to the world, that we are seen for who we are instead of just another face in the crowd.
When you think about it graffiti tagging means someone choosing a graffiti name and tagging that name over the city is like taking on an alterego. Think Beyonce and her alter ego Sasha Fierce.
Graffiti artist names are like another identity for a person.
During the day , they may work a 9-5 job, have responsibilities as a member of society and community just like the rest of us. But at night or on the weekends they can don on another identity that feels uniquely theirs and do something that they feel incredibly passionate for : street art.
That identity also provides anonymity which lends a little bit of super power where graffiti artists are free to put their mark in the city without authorities knowing who they are but at the same time their peers are aware of their existence, that there is another artist that lives in their city .
So there you have it, those reasons I feel is why Graffiti Artists tag all over the city.