Connotations Of Connurbations?

Yesterday I heard a couple talking by the temporary fencing that is hiding the building site of the new Premier Inn on the Smithfield road. One was gazing at the new piece of pop art that has appeared onto the fence, claiming it to be a mess reminiscent  of the New York subway trains, the other argued that street art is not graffiti ,it is art, just as much as a Constable or a Gainsborough.
So I thought I would ask you, the readers of, what you think of it? Is it merely an eyesore?

One could argue that it is a negative message with it's roots deep in the new wave gangster culture that has latterly been imported from the Good Ol' U.S. Maybe, for the sake of our own standards, it shouldn't be allowed.  It may give out the wrong messages and suggest that graffiti can be tolerated. That's one side of the argument.

The other side being, that taking into consideration, it is a huge splash of colour on a dull fence and that the piece has been so skilfully created with proudness and talent. It will brighten up the winter pavement of Smithfield road as rain and snow and hail will make things gloomy, and this kind of graffiti is actually an awesome art form.

However this kind of art can also be divisive. Let me explain. There isn't any one style of art we could display which would, instantly be recognised as art to represent the entire population of  adults and  yet, community groups with council funding, and inner city groups that are trying to regenerate the slum areas  so on and so on....... will always plum for Street Art as their medium. Is it the group leader’s idea of what the Kids want? Or is it a real expression from the soul of the Artist?  Maybe It is just a suggestion that every child and young adult in Britain can be summarised by garish graffiti like images?

That is what youth is?  Having argued that it is not possible to create an all encompassing form of art for adults why on earth would anyone argue that a whole generation of today's young would instantly identify with it or be represented by it.  (I as a child loved Lowry and Riley.)
So If  that was the case then it is a shame. This art was a negative art form and has grown from a highly dubious background. Graffiti has always been present and it had always been surrounded by negativity. We see it as vandalism. Historically there is even eighteenth century Graffiti in the Shrewsbury Library and there is graffiti from way earlier than that on the lead on the Abbey roof.  So there has always been the need amongst some  to record their names to show  everyone where you  have been. As if anybody cared.

Graffiti artists or taggers, as they are known, are the graffiti writers all over towns everywhere. They leave an identifiable squiggle and then they  do it somewhere else and so on, mapping out their territory, the more dangerous or phenomenally stupid places to tag ,they argue, the better. One sees acreage of tagging on the approach to all major British railway stations. They even paint on the trains themselves.

To emulate that kind of behaviour, this social canker, can surely do no good for society and no good for our community the question still, is should we accept it as art at all?  An art form that allegedly speaks to the young, Are we out of touch by telling them that we know you lot  like  graffiti, or hey we won't give you an intellectual challenge with  art  that  you might not enjoy, no it's just, "Here you are, have this, it looks like inner city London, its like Brooklyn or San Francisco, it's like Liverpool and Birmingham....that's what you young today eh?"  What's more, it's instant gratification art. Not much time spent in thinking too hard about any meaning."

Well no it's not cool. It can, to some, look garish and loud. Juxtaposed with the beauty of the river across the road from the work, it could be argued that it is out of place and detrimental to the aesthetics of that area of town.

But it is a piece of art and should be seen maybe?

The work that has gone into that painting is clearly evidential. It is thoughtful, imaginative, colourful and maybe evocative. It is painted to represent the festival, Teenage Kicks. There doesn't seem to be any information about the painting so one is totally unaware of its origins. Maybe a single piece of laminated A4 stapled to the wall beside the work, with information on it would help the confused recipient of the work.

What are your views? Is this art or is this not art, have you seen it? What were your reactions and thoughts? Please comment on this article and let's see if they have got it fantastically right or terribly wrong. Is this Art? What do you think?


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at

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