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Graffiti? Or is it Art?
Watch out, there are spray painters about the streets of Stroud - but is it art or vandalism? Have your say.
Stroud has been witnessing a new outbreak of graffiti on its streets.
But this time it's a bit different from the crude daubs and swear words usually favoured by vandals.
Blank walls in the Cotswold town are proving a popular canvas for 'guerilla graffiti' of the kind made famous by cult street artist Banksy.
Some of the Stroud graffiti displays particularly witty use of the surroundings on which it's painted, including a 'prisoner' behind bars and a carousel of stencilled fairground horses that add interest to an unsightly concrete roundabout-cum-planter on the forecourt of Stroud Railway Station.
The make-believe merry-go-round so impressed judges in the 2006 Stroud Awards run by the town council that the artist - known only as Knight - was awarded the design award for good design that enhances the townscape.
They praised the 'imaginative and witty transformation' - but as deputy town clerk Rachel Managhan explained: "It's the nature of such artists that they like to remain anonymous, and sadly Knight, whoever he or she is, has never come forward to claim their award - but Knight’s name has been engraved on the trophy shield for posterity."
Rik Brookes' mural outside Milano's
So with the district council spending up to £10,000 a year to clean up the worst of the town's spray paint scrawls and obscenities, is it time for a more creative approach to tackling the issue?
Colin Peake, the council's anti-social behaviour co-ordinator, thinks a better solution is to turn the vandals into better artists - and provide approved areas round the town where they can showcase their talents, including underpasses, car parks and walls that might otherwise prove a target for the 'spray and run'
The Wall2Wall project would see 11 to 18-year-olds receiving tuition from artists like Rik Brookes, who has just completed a commission on the wall of Milano's cafe-bar in Russell Street.
"Graffiti can be divided into the good, the bad and the downright ugly," says Mr Peake. "Of course art is subjective but it is a fact that the better graffiti that is creative and a real labour of love is left alone and not defaced by others.
"Encouraging more of the kind of work that is self-regulated like this would appear a better solution than clean-up campaigns that only see the blank walls defaced again."
Mr Peake hopes local businesses will assist the Wall2Wall project with sponsorship and is appealing for offers of suitable workshop premises as a permanent base. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, a form of art and creative expression, or plain vandalism? See more examples of graffiti in Stroud by clicking on the following link:
And tell us what YOU think of it. Here are some of the comments from visitors to the BBC Gloucestershire roadshow in Stroud ...
Jacqueline Peacey, Stroud
Steph Franklin, Nailsworth
Abi Foster, Rodborough
Malcolm Sanders, Stroud
Helen Michael, Stroud
There have been a number of other comments left on this page. Read them below and leave your own message at the very bottom of this page.
last updated: 15/04/2008 at 09:26
Have Your Say
Is turning the streets into exhibition space a good way to display artistic talent...or is it simply vandalism?
rúnar leó, iceland
maria emms cardiff/wotton-under-edge
(NOT ON YOUR) NELLY!!
mik in the U>S
Bradley D McCreary
maria emms, wotton-under-edge/cardiff
charlotte hawkins london
DaMaGe (the real one)