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Customer Review

2.0 out of 5 stars Far too safe to be interesting, 4 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Happy Graffiti: Street Art with Heart (Hardcover)
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For me, this book fails to capture the real feel of graffiti. It contains a collection of photographs, make that unimaginatively taken snapshots, of street art and text written on walls. It is all very safe, not pushing at boundaries anywhere, not stimulating the viewer (I would normally say reader, but there is almost no additional text). You could leave this on a coffee table, and nobody looking at it would take offence at it. But it's "happy graffiti" you might say. It's really not. Yes, graffiti can contain slogans, philosophy in words or visuals, creative expressions of what is going on in the creator's head. It can be incredibly artistic, or pretty basic. It doesn't have to be unpleasant, but if you don't get an emotive feel for what the creator is going through, what is the point? It may just be teenage angst, it may be something much more complicated, but from this book you really don't feel that. It really does not generate much response.

I've seen graffiti on walls outside London railway stations, in subways, on parapets, all down the sides of trains etc, as well as street art painted with permission on a large scale, much of which has made me think and some of which has made me smile. I even know somebody who runs graffiti classes (if that isn't a contradiction) in the Netherlands, who gets many people producing more interesting material than this in the space of a day. As much of a pain as it can be to train operators and others, I'd rather see a creatively done tag on a train, than the majority of the content of this book. With very few exceptions, the images and text here don't even make me stop before turning the page. The image on the cover is one of the few exceptions. What is inside is mostly much less interesting.

Sadly, I cannot recommend this book.
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