Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Monday, 18 April 2016

Graffiti Rock

Our country town has a Well Wish Boulder as opposed to a city overhead bridge where signs are hung from, wishing Jane bon voyage or Wade happy 21st birthday.  The signs draw your eye and out of human curiosity you wonder as you nearly drive up the bum of the car in front “Will Emma marry Nathan?  How does Emma know it is her Nathan asking this monumental question?   I hope he follows through by proposing in a more intimate manner. I sure as hell wouldn't be impressed with a proposal like that.”  

I was not aware the rock had an official name so I asked when I was in the produce store in town. The answer, 'Don't know, don't think it has a name....Birthday Rock?".
I figured it was a Well Wish Rock as it used for more than just birthday messages but as I wrote this the local newspaper also did a short story on it calling it the Birthday Rock, so Birthday Rock it is. 

It sits ten kilometres from town on the north approach and has a perfect flat side facing the highway for the messages to be artfully displayed.

During the 10 years we have been passing the boulder the well wishes regularly change.  This got me thinking about the etiquette of using said rock for scrawling graffiti wishes on.  Is there a secret book to enter your reservation for the upcoming event you want to announce to all passing motorists?  

How annoyed would you be if you spent a fortune on spray paint plus the time and effort to decorate it with all the lovely colours relaying how important it is that Jim is turning 50, only to have someone spray it over the following day to welcome Sarah home? 

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines graffiti as “an inscription or drawing made on some public surface…a message or slogan…”  

I rather like our Birthday Rock, even though the messages are considered graffiti, it has a good community feel about it, the ever changing messages are confined to the rock and private property is not being defaced.  If it were used for senseless tagging I may feel differently. 

Normally I get pretty upset with graffiti having owned a building constantly vandalised by witless adolescents scrawling their moronic tags on the walls, thinking we should be so pleased with their non artistic efforts that turn a pleasant neighbourhood into a slum and costing us a fortune to eliminate the truly ugly unwanted  sight. 

If we wanted to display tags all over the walls we would use our own gorgeous signatures instead of some random's monkier.  

I appreciate the art of calligraphy; this tag is lovely and well executed but on paper please, not defacing someone's wall!

I found out there is a code and hierarchy among graffiti artists as well as a whole graffiti language, this doesn't surprise me.   Tag is the writer’s signature.  Master taggers are called kings, novices are toys.  The ultimate offence is painting, ‘going over’, someone else’s work.  Throw-ups are usually very basic bubble letters. Bombing is hitting an area hard with graffiti.

A vomit, oh sorry, I mean a 'throw up' surrounded by tags.

I have never seen what I consider as mindless graffiti tagging on the rock; although recently someone only known by their name initials was declaring their love for another individual with no identifying name but initials. In my mind this is nearly as bad as tagging. Looking at it each time I drove past for the last month reminded me of being a silly pubescent teenager or reading the back of public toilet doors.  I was quite glad when the newest birthday wish replaced it.  

I imagine the lack of tagging may have something to do with the turn around of messages. Any attention craving tagger wanting to throw-up over the boulder would be well aware their art would be momentary as the next message is added to the rock by the toys of our town.  (I do mean toys in the nicest way).

Unlike the initialed loved up couple Bella only got a week of birthday advertising before the message was changed to 'Happy 18th Toby'. 

Do the good towns people realise they are graffitists who don’t follow any of the rules?  They are guilty of going over each other’s messages, they know their artistic abilities will be bombed at a close point in the future to give way for the next well wish and they are perfectly OK with that.  

A born and bred Braidwoodian told me the rock has been employed as a sign carrier for over 20  years!!!!!!! Can you imagine how many layers of paint it is dressed in if a sentiment changes on an average of every 3 weeks?  Like a Sara Lee pastry, layer upon layer upon layer. 

I am waiting for our Birthday Boulder to shimmy out of its paint layers like a snake sheds its skin. 

Meanwhile, for anyone interested my birthday is September............