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26 September 2007

Deborama's WWW Number 37 - Phase2, "bubble letters", Obey Giant and other urban artifacts

I have taken to looking at the main page of Wikipedia every day, just for the serendipity of learning something new and unexpected. Today one of the pages featured was that of a graffiti artist from the seminal NYC 1970s scene, who went by the name of Phase2. He is "generally credited" with the invention of the "bubble letter" or "softies" style which is now quite ubiquitous in the urban and even suburban and rural environment.
As one does on the web, I surfed from link to link, learning about wheatpasting, which led in turn to Obey Giant (which started out as Andre the Giant has a posse.) I remember Andre from the wonderful film The Princess Bride, which due to my kids, children of the early 1980s, loving it so much, I have seen many times and pretty much know by heart.) Obey Giant also has an "official" website.
Getting back to the subject of graffiti, I see some on my way to work every day (two trains, a little over an hour on a good day, through Narborough, South Wigston, Leicester, Loughborough, Attenborough, Beeston and ending in Nottingham, which has a thriving graffiti culture. And a fair number of anarchists too.) In the rural category, just across from the Ratcliff-on-Soar coal-fired power plant, there is a graffiti (a graffitus? a graffito?) on a little hump-backed bridge that the sheep like to shelter under that says, in very crude simple letters, "Peak Power". And on the approach to Nottingham, a graffiti attributed to a group called ALF, says "Devaste to Liberate". I am pretty sure they meant to say "Devastate to Liberate" and it is a real blot on the landscape, to my mind, to have grossly misspelled graffiti. And anyway, I have never signed up to that belief anyway, despite being an anarchist. In fact, I have even come up with a minor witticism to take the piss out of such philosophy: Fuck omelettes, I just like breaking eggs.©

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