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Graffiti,The Writing's on the Wall


Having turned respectable, graffiti culture is dying .

LONDON'S fastest-changing art gallery is hidden in a sunken ball court on a housing estate in Stockwell, south London. On a sunny Sunday afternoon six or seven men, mostly in their 30s, are busy painting the walls with new designs. They have put up cartoons, names written in elaborate, multi-coloured lettering and clever perspective tricks. Tins of spray paint and beer stand on the ground; ladders lean against the paintings.The atmosphere is not unlike that of a golf course: a mix of concentration and blokey relaxation.

Graffiti painting is traditionally a daredevil pursuit. Teenagers dodge security guards to put their names on trains and buses. But over the past decade that has all but disappeared from Britain's cities. Between 2007 and 2012 the number of incidents of graffiti recorded by the British Transport Police fell by 63%.A survey by the environment ministry shows that fewer places are blighted by tags than ever. Graffiti are increasingly confined to sanctioned walls, such as the Stockwell ball courts. In time the practice may die out entirely.

The most obvious reason for the decline in tagging and train-painting is better policing, says Keegan Webb, who runs TheLondon Vandal, a graffiti blog. Numerous CCTV cameras mean it is harder to get away with painting illegally. And punishments are more severe.Once-prolific taggers such as Daniel Halpin, who painted his pseudonym “Tox” all over London,have been given long prison sentences. British graffiti artists who want to paint trains usually go abroad to do it these days, says Mr Webb.

A generational shift is apparent, too.Fewer teenagers are getting into painting walls. They prefer to play with iPads and video games, reckons Boyd Hill, an artist known as Solo One, who in effect runsthe Stockwell ball courts. Those who do get involved tend to prefer street art to graffitiproper (which purists define as letters and names, however elaborately drawn).Some have gone to art school and want to make money from their paintings. The internet means that painters can win far more attention by posting pictures online than they can by breaking into a railway yard.

Taggers and graffiti artists mostly grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Those men—and almost all are men—are now older and less willing to take risks. “We can't runaway from the police any more,” says Ben Eine, who turned from tagging to street art. The hip-hop culture that inspired graffiti in the first place has faded. Video games and comic books provide more inspiration than music.

Graffiti may eventually disappear. But for now the hobby is almost respectable. Mr Eine says he has lots of friends who used to paint trains. Now with wives and children, they paint abandoned warehouses at the weekend. It has become something to do on a Sunday afternoon—a slightly healthier alternative to sitting watching the football.




绘名和火车涂鸦盛行的下降最主要是因为政策的不断完备,这是Keegan Webb的观点,他是一个叫做“伦敦文化艺术破坏者”的涂鸦博客的博主。中央电视台的摄像头不断关注在墙上非法地涂鸦。相应地,惩罚也更加严重了。曾经多产的涂鸦人,比如Daniel Halpin,他把他的别名“Tox”涂遍了整个伦敦,其结果是被判了长期监禁。Mr Webb认为,近来想去涂鸦火车的英国的涂鸦艺人,通常都会出国。

一代人的转化也是很显然易见的。越来越少的年轻人参与到墙上涂鸦中来了,他们更喜欢IPad和电脑游戏。这是Boyd Hill(被称为艺术家独一人)的观点,他经营着斯托克维尔球场。就算年轻人对这方面感兴趣,他们也比较喜欢街头艺术,而非真正的涂鸦(尽管画的很好,但是纯粹主义者们都认为他们是字母和名字)。他们中有一些年轻人已经上了艺术学校,并想从他们的绘画中赚钱。网络的发展意味着,相比较于把画画在铁路调车场来说,绘画人可以把自己的绘图在线上传,这样更能提高他们的知名度。

绘名和涂鸦艺人大都成长在20世纪80或90年代。这个群体—大多是男人—现在都比较年长了,他们不甚愿意去冒险。Ben Eine---从绘名转到了街头艺术,他认为, “我们不能像从前那样从警察眼皮子下溜走了。”刚开始引起涂鸦文化的嘻哈文化现在已经渐渐消失了。相比较而言,电子游戏和漫画书比音乐提供了更多的灵感。

最终,涂鸦可能会消失。但是直到现在,这种爱好几乎是受到人们的尊敬的。Ben Eine说,他有很多朋友,他们曾经都在火车上画画。现在,他们有了妻子和孩子们,因此他们只有周末才会去废弃的仓库墙上画画。这对于比坐在电视机前看足球来说,这是一个更加健康的休闲方式。


1.respectable adj. 值得尊敬的;人格高尚的;相当数量的 n. 可敬的人

2.fastest-changing adj.发展最迅速的

3.Traditionally adv. 传统上;习惯上;传说上

4.over the past decade 在过去的十年里

5.Increasingly adv. 越来越多地;渐增地

6.die out 灭绝;消失

7.Illegally adv. 非法地

8.be getting into 正在进入

9.get involved 加入、介入

10.take risks 冒险

11.inspiration n. 灵感;鼓舞;吸气;妙计

12.eventually adv. 最后,终于

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