This attack on graffiti is an attack on creativity

I read, with indignation, Roy Johnson’s letter expounding his prejudicial and myopic views on graffiti and its increasing use in mainstream design, specifically on the new Adidas clothing range.

I read, with indignation, Roy Johnson’s letter (DW 22 March) expounding his prejudicial and myopic views on graffiti and its increasing use in mainstream design, specifically on the new Adidas clothing range.

It’s disheartening to think that there are people out there who would so readily disregard a medium rich in cultural significance and relevance, and who would be part of an organisation set up to attack and undermine a form of creativity that is rapidly becoming recognised as a legitimate form of art and expression.

Graffiti has been present in our communities from the first time man picked up a lump of charcoal, and is responsible for some of the most illuminating windows into lives and cultures. Does Johnson also abhor and condemn the Lascaux cave paintings or wish that the Roman secrets about life in Pompeii had been scoured from those walls? Did the images and heartfelt pleas that adorned the Berlin Wall strike no resonance within him? And what about Banksy? Where else does one get to feel and see such an uncensored and raw reflection of the views of so many people?

Looking round any urban landscape, the effects of graffiti pale into insignificance when contrasted with the visual detritus of corporate pollution and their omnipresent billboards and posters. A more worthy crusade for Johnson would be to campaign for a higher standard for all visual matter displayed throughout our environments – graffiti, advertising and retail signs included – but, in the meantime, perhaps he would rally more support for his cause by addressing the readers of the Daily Mail rather than the design community.

David Bicknell, Creative director, Echo Brand Design, London W14

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  • roy johnosn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This writer says his own industry needs ‘higher standards’.
    Once he sorts that out perhaps he can afford time to write about a subject he clearly knows little about.
    He fails to acknowledge that graffit is illegal and even thinks it was acceptable in areas such as the Berlin Wall. The messages on the wall were moving but that does not alter the fact that the application of marks onto someone elses property is vandalism.
    The only place graffiti is “rapidly becoming recognised as a legitimate form of art and expression” is in the writers own mind.

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