Graffiti: the stories we tell

❤ "Graffiti is the unofficial language of society: the voice for the voiceless, or those who don’t want to be known. Sometimes it carries political messages, sometimes it’s about tagging territory or establishing hierarchies of importance and power, sometimes it’s hostile and threatening. There is a vocabulary of graffiti that may not be known to those of us outside the circle.

Bortusk 2Stories are not static: as graffiti grows over time, is overlain with new meaning, is replaced and stratified, so too do stories grow. We can lay the foundations, we can make the first telling, but as they spread through communities and are retold ad infinitum they change, they become owned by the communities that share them."

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Bortusk 1I found a new Bortusk poster in Amsterdam today. A slightly torn and weathered neon monster staring out at me from the side of a skip as i cycled past. I think that brings to about fifteen the number i’ve found around the city this year. Sometimes i go back to visit them, watching as the paper gets more torn, dirtier, overlaid with graffiti and stickers, or simply weathered away by the Dutch climate.

Bortusk is enigmatic: his colourful monsters placed seemingly for no other reason than to brighten up your day, a task they fulfil perfectly for me as they smile, wave and dance into sight on a rainy morning as you cycle past. For some, they are probably just graffiti: rubbish cluttering the street. For others, something to make you smile.

For me, they tell a story: a story about creativity, about sharing, about meaning…

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