Welcome to the Bomb It blog. This blog will be a continual update for news and information not only for our film but also for the larger graffiti and street art community as a whole- especially concerning the issues of artist rights and who controls public space.
This has become a hot issue for us lately because several of the people in our film have recently been arrested and indicted by the New York City criminal justice system: KET and the ACC crew.
While the prosecutions in this case seem particularly aggressive they are unfortunately merely two examples of what is happening on an increasing basis around the globe.
When I embarked on this film project two years ago I was fascinated by the myriad issues and contradictions brought about by graffiti and street art. I loved the beautiful murals that I saw on the streets Los Angeles and New York. But I quickly found out that graff is much more than pretty murals on the street. To be honest when I first started the documentary I wasn’t interested in tags and did not have an interest in exploring that part of graff. Now I actually prefer a good tag to a complicated intricate piece, because I understand the skill and artistry of the tag as well as all of the much larger social issues that the tag represents.
I was of course fascinated by the notion that humankind has been compelled to write on walls for thousands of years. The very act itself addresses the eternal human quest for some form of immortality in the face of a vast universe- some universal desire to state “I was here” which I feel drives a good deal of human creation, not just graffiti.
As we traveled the world, we quickly discovered that there is a worldwide battle over public space. The “quality of life laws” and the broken windows theory that support those laws had spread from New York City to Europe and to every other corner of the earth with severe punishments. The exploration of this battle and its consequences became the driving force of the film.
The controversy brings up some very essential questions: What is the nature of art? Who determines what is art and what is not art? Who controls freedom of speech? Who controls public space? Why are some manifestations in public space that are offensive to many people sanctioned (billboards and strip malls) and others are criminalized (graffiti).
We as a society assume that billboards, since they are a commercial enterprise, must be legal. Also most people assume that there must be some large fee paid by advertisers to the city for the right to put up their ads. Perhaps those billboards are an important source of income for cities so desperate for cash. Actually many billboards, especially in Los Angeles, are in fact illegal. A form of sanctioned, accepted, graff if you will. Add insult to injury, the fees paid by billboard companies for the right to have their commercials sprawled across the urban landscape is often as low as twenty dollars a year. The ultimate irony is that a kid could face years in prison for defacing a billboard that is in fact illegal in itself.
These are just some of the issues we will be exploring in this blog. But I will also relate some of the trials and tribulations about the filmmaking process as well. We will tag the entries so that if you are interested in a particular topic or writer you will be able to sort the blog for content.
We will be adding features and content to the site on a regular basis. Some of what we are up to:
*During our stay at the Tribeca Film Festival I will be posting updates both in writing and hopefully in low-res quicktimes shot with my video camera.
*We will be posting new clips on an almost daily basis during the festival and on a regular basis after that. Some of these clips are from the film itself â€“ some of it from the hours and hours of footage that we shot that didnâ€™t make it into the film. (more on this later).
*Eventually we will have a world map where you can click on a city and country and find out what the anti graffiti laws are in those cities and stories of cases of writers who have been arrested, indicted and sentenced in those cities.
*Check out our Flickr site where we are posting photos from our artists (uploading more every day) The front page will have recent ads and then links to galleries sorted by city and by artist.
But we don’t want to be a mono-directional conduit. We would love to have your feedback and information.
*Soon we will have a Forum so that you can post news from your community, images, clips etc. Until that time, please post your comments on our Myspace page.
Check out mypace.com/bombitthemovie
And finally, let us know if you want to buy the dvd. Soon we will have a store that will not only sell the DVD but stickers, t-shirts and our favorite graff books and dvds from around the world.
So go to the email list, sign up and get some free stickers!