Critical Evaluation

I have enjoyed this project very much as I have been photographing a subject that fascinates me, I love colour and shape in paintings and studying graffiti has only added nothing but good thoughts to my understanding of what is art. Looking back and reflecting on this project I have realised how unaware I was of the amount of graffiti there actually is, as graffiti can be found everywhere! It has now made me more observant and I notice them more now. Looking through what I have achieved and produced in the time I was given I am happy with what I have done. I believe that if I started my project with my final idea of Graffiti, and not Ageing Population I would of had more time to produce research or travel to different places other than Coventry and Birmingham.  I wasn’t able to revisit the graffiti markings, to see if they had been taken down, or how a graffiti marking would have changed over time. I would of done so if the timeframe of this project was extended. One other thing I would have wanted more of was money. I took several train journeys to Birmingham, which was not cheap at all. I feel that if I could travel more around the UK then I would of produced more images for me to experiment with. I think the research that I have applied with this project has been useful. I researched more into graffiti artists and how they produce their work. I haven’t copied a style of work as I wasn’t going to Coventry/Birmingham to produce graffiti. I have used graffiti artists as inspiration to help me gain knowledge as to why they have chosen to produce there work in a public area instead of a gallery. The research I composed helped me refine my ideas and allowed me to develop my thoughts.

At the beginning of my graffiti project, I connected my idea to the Ownership and Property brief. However, starting to look into what my research and final images looked like, I can now relate it to City Regeneration. Art is developing more and more, even more so that artists are creating new ways to display their work. Artists are now using cities as a form of displaying their work. This is changing as time goes on as artists could add to another artists Street Art or Graffiti. I believe now that my project comes under the brief of City Regeneration as Art is regenerating.

While in Birmingham, it was very difficult to find people who were creating graffiti. I only saw one person that was making this type of work. He wasn’t happy with me taking pictures of him while he was making his mark as he believed that he was vandalising. So he wasn’t happy to make his identity known, which is very similar to Banksy’s thoughts on showing his identity. I feel like if I had more time with this project I could find more and more people who were making this art and who are willing to become part of my body of work. I would be able to get to know some of the people on a more personal level meaning they would be more comfortable with me taking their picture. With this as a downfall I decided to do a questionnaire to get some feedback and knowledge of what people thought as tagging. From this research, I identified as tagging was not meant to be an art form, but a group of people displaying their opinions on a subject. I also emailed the artist, MSSDCNNCTD, who is a poet who writes quotes on stickers and displays them around Birmingham, but I had no reply. Again, If I had more time, I believe I would get a response from this artist, which I can include in my project.

From this project I have learnt many things. I have learnt the difference between street art and graffiti, which was what my initial project was going to be about. I have also been able to extend my knowledge on different artists and photographers regarding on how they present their work and what sort of mediums they have combined with their work. I have been able to discuss different presentational styles such as the use go Google Street View. I was able to connect this to my project as I have produced my own GSV screenshots using Google Maps. I’ve gained knowledge on new artists such as MSSDCNNCTD and BLEK LE RAT. Before my project, I didn’t realise how much graffiti there was everywhere. I didn’t notice graffiti on walls until I actually go out and try and find some. I have learnt that there are groups of people, such as the NFA crew that uses graffiti as a form of expressing an opinion. However, looking into research into NFA, it was difficult for me to find the exact definition and forums about what people thought of this group. As NFA is a group of people who are against the police, it group was very discrete on the internet, which made it difficult for me to find information. With the project I used two cameras, Nikon D3100 and Canon 5D111. The Nikon was my own camera which I knew how to use, whereas the canon, I had no prior knowledge. This is a camera that I would like to develop as I feel like Canon cameras will be useful to master for the future. I have also produced a sketchbook, to contained most of my research and my thoughts on my own photos. The sketchbook has been a great help as it allowed me to add certain information in the correct order. If I found more information on a previous research I have conducted, it was easy for me go to back and add and tweak some parts of my sketchbook. I will carry this form of conducting research to future projects.

Overall, I am happy with my final set of photographs, although I found it difficult to show how tagging could be an art form, hopefully I have shown an artistic approach to display such markings. With the research I have conducted, it was known to me that tagging was generally viewed in a negative manner. With my final images I wanted to go against their thoughts and bring a new light to tagging. I believe I have got my statement across through my images, an artistic statement and all my visual and written research throughout this project. Although I am very happy with my images, I feel like I spent a lot of time just taking picture of different types of graffiti. Although this helped my development, I believe that I spend too long doing that. With that being said, the images did help me understand that there are many different techniques and styles. This project has sparked a new interest for me and I will continue with. Now, whenever I see graffiti, I believe I will appreciate it more.

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