Whenever I walk through the Graffiti Tunnel I get the feeling that the place is trying to communicate something to me about my own creative process.
At first the tunnel delighted me. In 2008 the artist Banksy and several other graffiti artists created the Cans Festival here and the space was filled with defiant, witty and thought provoking images.
They made the creative process look deceptively easy. Anyone can do this, it proclaims.
No they can’t the curmudgeon in me says. Sure, anyone can buy a spray can or a laptop but there has to be something else, a creative spark, to make it rise above the mundane.
The original art no longer exists. It has been painted over by, what seems to me, earnest young boys fresh off the train at
having a go at some urban grit in a place where they won’t get into trouble. As
I walk through the dark tunnel looking for signs I am struck by how homogenous
it has become. The space is filled with the same garish colours and the same
swooping style. The walls are covered with name tags. Rows and rows of name
badges like some depressing X factor audition. No-one now dares to be
Everyone has to start somewhere the educationalist in me says. It is hard finding your voice and honing your craft. Maybe it is not about art but a male outlet for creativity?
There are a few women creating in this place. Once I came upon a group of young women making their own music video. Or this knitted rat.
There are now also find groups of homeless men discarding their extra strong lager tins alongside the spray paint cans or media folk with flashy photography equipment doing ‘shoots.’
The world is changing. Difficult times call for different words.
As I walked through the Graffiti Tunnel worrying over the structure and purpose of my latest story my thoughts were tempered by the words
Halfway through the tunnel a spray can alchemist had transformed a rusting metal stump of a street lamp into a golden object.
Words and stories have the power to transform.
As I reached the light at the end of the tunnel I spotted an object that I had never noticed before. Its very name a poem. A Belisha Beacon.