To the editor,
Let's figure it out already. We've had the barely veiled, and plenty confusing, quasi-endorsement of things marked up for a social cause in your gentrification article ("Where goes the neighbourhood?" by Lis van Berkel, April 12). Then we get a municipal malfunction ticket for a sign that's been tagged to death ("Ticket number T02080762," On patrol, August 2) and a letter to the editor from some wit who figures he/she's working hard as an artist and is different because their paint has "style," not realizing a plea for legitimacy requires an identity—not a pseudonym—to be worthwhile ("Naff graf?" Letterhead, August 2). The Lezlie Lowe column the letter referred to ("A higher scrawling," July 12) was written from a different angle, but only for its own sake and not to clear anything up.
It's become pretty obvious that the word "graffiti" doesn't pull it off any more, and neither does "tagging." There are some phenomenal talents out there and seeing, enjoying or buying what they can legally create is to be supported. Let's try calling what they do "art." Now, pick a name for the self-righteous I-am-graffiti-guy-hear-me-roar, who costs other people money to clean up his mess. Let's call that "compensatory, self-aggrandizing bullshit." Now, agree with those suggestions or not, at least pick an interpretation, Coast, and stick with it. Quit painting things to fit the moment.
By Illegitimately yours...