As Dr. Seuss puts it:
“my alphabet starts, where
your alphabet ends”.
The End of Graffiti, 2013
Aesthetics and Style
For a cultural form so dependent on arresting images and visual impact, there has been surprisingly little research dedicated to the description and analysis of graffiti and street art styles. Notable exceptions include attempts to locate graffiti and street art in relation to art history (see for example Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik's excellent catalogue to MOMA's 1990 High and Low exhibition, or Daniel Feral's more recent detailed mapping) and my colleague Jacqueline Milner's recent detailed argument about street art and realism.
This strand of my research examines the aesthetic features of graffiti and street art and the ways in which they are shaped by the creativity of individual artists and collectives (crews, cultural scenes, cities), as well as external forces, such as the design of street-scapes, regimes of policy and policing and available archives and digital platforms.
The initial research described the context of the emergence of an anti-aesthetic style of graffiti around the millenium ("In Praise of 70K: Cultural Heritage and Graffiti Style" (2006)), then took part in the project to map the first decade of Melbourne graffiti, as a contributor to Duro Cubrilo, Martin Harvey and Karl Stamer's mammoth book King's Way: The Beginning's of Australia Graffiti: 1983-1993 (2009). More recently I have written about national and regional styles and the aesthetics of exhaustion in the transition from graffiti to street art ("The End of Graffiti" (2013)). This research has also incorporated photography and various strategies for representing graffiti and street art, my image having been reproduced widely in newspapers, journals and books.