The human compulsion to draw on walls is as old as humanity itself; think of all those masterly cave paintings in the Dordogne. And I gather the Greeks and Romans were rather fond of doodling all over the place too. These days, you can hardly turn a corner without seeing someone’s tag scrawled over some surface or other. So, is graffiti a vibrant urban art form or senseless vandalism? The jury’s out on that one. Personally, I dislike much of it because, like any other form of advertising, most of it is rubbish. Back in the day, I didn’t find the ugly scribbles defacing much of the Alto Bairro district of Lisbon or Damm Square in Amsterdam particularly colourful, cutting edge or inspirational. And I wasn’t such an old fart then.

What of Norwich? Well, we have our fair share of street artists/delinquents (delete according to taste) thinking they’re the next Banksy. The grim Sixties’ underpass close to the micro-loft provides a blank canvas for anyone wanting to express themselves in spray paint. But this year, Life in a Fine City had the bright idea of inviting local artists young and old to cover the walls in original work. I must say, it makes a damp, smelly and soulless space a little more bearable to pass through and, out of respect, the taggers have left the art (mostly) untouched. There is honour among artists, methinks.

A few that caught my eye…

11 thoughts on “Art of the Underground

  1. I must admit to having really ‘discovered’ street art earlier in the year and yes, some of it is just rubbish. But I remember my first (and last!) visit to the Pompidou Centre in Paris 15 years ago and being completely p*ssed off by what was touted as art there. So I think like most things we call art, it’s all in the eye of the beholder

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  2. Hmm, there’s a difference between street art and graffiti, I think. The ones that caught your eye in your pics above are great, I think. It’s when people scrawl a mess everywhere – that I call a mess, anyway 😉 – that gets me annoyed. But then other people don’t mind it… So does that mean it’s all art… 😉


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