Male vs female in the art tundra of whose tools are best…
Walls. White. Lonely. All around me in this private misery of my at-home-office. It has taken a strong hold on my furious wanderlust imagination to not deface (according to the landlords wording on my claustrophobic lease) these white walls. I want to. Very much. I try to sway my hyperventilating, overactive creative inner-Meghan from bringing the street-art world indoors, concentrating on writing. As I stare at my laptop, ignoring the pleads from my whitewash prisoners, I hear my Skype ping, clicking open the message box like a rabid wolverine tearing apart a downed elk. My savior. Remmy. My old friend from the glory days of old. It’s his fault I find myself in this bind of impatience and upheaval, tormenting my adult responsible side with the free-flow-kitten who used to paint walls without second thought. Art came before civic duty!
Remmy and I have been going back and forth in a debate about what is true street-art is. We used to be a group, you see, this Remmy character and I. With a third fellow called Paully, we called ourselves the ‘Pit-Crew’ and scuttled through the night, bombing murals onto vacant walls, or derelict structures left to decay in the bustling concrete evolutions of rising modern cities born of glass and gip-rock. We didn’t vandalize, we revitalized. With style. Paully and Remmy flung spray cans like a sharp shooter from some Dirty Harry wet dream. My weapon of choice was the paint marker. Spray cans seemed so, perverse. Ejaculating hue’s of saturation, penetrating porous landscapes. Messy. Uncontrollable.
A graffiti pissing-contest, really. Who can spray better. I don’t like to rush, I am a woman with control on my hands, and my art isn’t about being included in the boy’s club of who can cover more turf quicker with my dripping cans. My tools of the night weren’t included in the graffiti-street-art dichotomy of my partners. I was the gal who followed along her boys, the roadie of support, it seems. To me, they were the numbskulls who chattered too much in my ear to ever say no, thus, pushing me out of my apartment and into the night to paint another public art piece. The Jiminy Cricket will one needs when doing a full-time art degree in the throws of an Eastern Canadian winter.
I asked the lingering questions to my old friend about his outdated sentiments on what made graffiti, or street-art. He asked me if I still used my paint markers, to which I replied, but yes, of course. These are my tools…
“You’re cheating. That’s not graffiti. It’s paint in a marker that anyone can use. Graffiti is spray paint, Clarkston, you know that. If you want to be known, you have to be able to control a can and leave a fucking epic mural that makes people stop and respect. You draw. Your art isn’t guerrilla like ours is Megs… ”
His words always draw me back to the mandate of living in a man’s world, where woman sits in the background, not a person, but a spectacle of uninvited amusement. Sided with his idea that his rash tags of premature ejaculation of creativity are considered rebellious or influential to our drone inhabited society. My laughter pierces my audience of white walls; his air of being unique in a sea of redundancy. Street-art, graffiti, tags, whatever the taste of the culture, are everywhere in cities. Using a spray-can isn’t going to make you part of an unlawful club of radicals, like my partner here so devotedly believes. You have options in this world; make art which makes people pause, and think, or piss on a community, leaving a rancid stain for all to cauterize their retinas with.
What tools you use doesn’t matter, so long as you let your own creative passion dictate the optical presence which is born. My art is conscious of my surroundings, inviting the natural aura of the environment to become a part of the finished work. I’m not leaving a mark, in my feminine “pussy-foot” (as my male counterparts describe) art; I am becoming the context of what already exists. In my eyes, that’s what true street-art is.
Relaying my sentiments to my old partner resonated with amusing banter.
“You’re not unique Rem. You’re marketable. You’re a show-boat product that screams for attention. You’re not revolution; you’re mainstream pop culture.”
Ellipses followed by the familiar ping of a Skype hang-up. His hope of having me jerk-off his ego seems to be the dominate will and want of most male artists these days. Praise for being a fixture in the All Boy’s Club, no girls allowed, unless we want to swoon over their big-boxstore pre-packaged imaginations.
I’m a small business, offering one-of-a-kind pieces that adapt to the world around us. I don’t ask for much, just a little respect for my process, appreciation for art, and support for women in my line of work. Boom. Sign. Sealed. And delivered. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some white walls to rescue here.