Tag Archives: graffiti

Things for which I am grateful #34


Street Art.

I love it. Because it’s all about seeing something ordinary and making it extraordinary. It’s about applying abstract thought to the mundane.

Some people might argue that it’s graffiti, and they have a point to a certain extent. Where I think it differs is that street art usually contains an idea and opens up a dialogue with the observer. (The Smile in the Mind.) It doesn’t rely solely on an elaborately rendered moniker. The best stuff tends to interact with the environment in which it is placed rather than the environment being merely a canvas.

Of course, location has a lot to do with it. You usually find them in urban areas or metropolises making a social or political comment. I don’t think I’d be best pleased to find some of these in an idyllic setting. But then, if they were, they probably wouldn’t be making a statement.

So, for brightening up grey days and bringing a smile to my face, I am grateful.

Here are a few gems…

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Banksy's alternative Jubilee

Banksy’s alternative Jubilee

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Filed under Art, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration

Me, the thief.


Where do you get your ideas from?

I get asked this all the time in my job.

I usually reply that the ideas come from the information I am supplied with to do the job.

All you have to do is jizz it up a bit in your creative cocktail shaker and see what comes out.

Sometimes it tastes like piss.

Other times it tastes like a Mojito mixed by Mr Hemingway himself.

But there are a few other ingredients that go into the creative cocktail shaker that aren’t in the brief.

These are taken from all the stuff you soak up in your daily life: art; literature; music; ads; news; gossip; film; blogs; tabloids; soaps; comedy, et cetera, et cetera.

What turns your cocktail from being piss into ambrosia is what bits of your own inspiration you put in there.

I came across this quote on the Gutenberg Press II:

I read something similar by Picasso a few years back. But in the spirit of the quote – he probably pinched it from someone else in the first place.

Here are a few bits of graffiti that you may have seen before, but what I like about these are how they integrate their art with the environment, rather than the environment being purely a canvas.

Whilst out for a saunter with my two girls, the eldest, who’s 5, said: Daddy! That looks like a cup!

This is what she was looking at…

Kids get it.

It’s adults who unlearn it.

Inspiration lurks everywhere, if you want to be inspired.

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Inspiration V Plagiarism


I saw this mesmerizing portrait by Norman Parkinson on a postcard when I was on a recent jaunt to old Londinium.

Stunning shapes, texture, composition and colour.

I didn’t realise that when he took this shot he was actually paying homage to Dutch painter, Kees Van Dongen, 1877-1968.

Whether we use art directly to influence our work or only in part doesn’t matter.

What is important is that we continue to absorb inspiration wherever it lurks. Whether that be an old master who can teach us about perfect composition or a graffiti artist’s integration of the environment as a canvas.

Courtesy of Street Art Utopia. (And my mate, Markham.)

The ad industry is rife with plagiarism – “Wassup”, by Budweiser was a short film by a new director. Honda Cogs was an art installation.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being inspired by art. Where it falls down is if you try to pass off the originality as your own.

If you can’t physically credit the people whose idea you’ve been inspired by – i.e. you can’t put a credit on the end of a TV ad – then help out in other ways. Either pay them to be involved in making the project, or at the very least donate some hard cash to help further their art. (In the cases of Budweiser and Honda the ad agencies or client may have done this, I don’t know.)

With the infamous Guinness “Dancing Man” commercial, the agency saw the short film – again, a promo piece by a young director – and approached him with a view to remaking it for Guinness.

He said no because he’d already made that film and didn’t want to make it again.

So the agency made it anyway with a different director.

The director sued. And lost.

Not sure why. Perhaps you can’t copyright a man dancing. Or maybe the judge felt the new film was sufficiently different. (If you see them both together, you’ll see that it isn’t.)

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration, Photography