Painting over the facts – young men and suicide

It’s a shocking title, I know, but it’s a shocking state of affairs. The hypocrisy of the art world, to see value in what the artist might have been punished for. The value of being seen to be cool and on trend with out taking a risk or even caring. Art, cash, selling out, moving up, moving on……

My son is now an established graffiti artist. I have learnt a lot from him about the writings on the wall and respect what is behind the images. The sense of person, an anonymous creation and unknown identity. It’s a very cool way for young people to express themselves in this world of constant gratification and a need to be seen and liked. It’s a massive worry for me as his mum, its high risk and is also illegal. However I admire his passion and appreciate that he found a place in a community he feels aligned with. Recently we were at a super fancy high end art show in London, where we spotted for sale the mother and baby piece by Stik, it was framed in iron and made of brick….My son said its amazing to think that Stik would have risked a criminal conviction and injury for this and I felt depressed to think that it will be housed in the home of the super wealthy. I want to raise a point that I took a photo of the green and pink piece, sprayed on the wall of the tunnel under the railway line on tooting common (SW London) because I liked it. Of course the council painted over it later on with dull grey paint. I said the wall looked better with the art work on it. My son said but the council won’t let us have these spaces where we can express ourself safely…..I could go on but I want to get to something very important. My son took to graffiti for his teenage angst, and in our city we know that money has been taken away from youth services and also young men are extremely vulnerable. The picture at the top POWE.R is taken on my high st in Streatham SW London, and yes it’s a massive piece of what some will call vandalism but it has been created in memory of the late owner of the tag POWE.R, sadly he committed suicide earlier this year. No doubt it will soon be painted over but we can not paint over the fact that another young male takes his life in a world that wants to cover it all up.

I wish I could say more, be more articulate, I wish these young people would come forward to speak to the aurthorities who shut them down, paint over them or actively do not support the needs of young men in our society.

I hope someone sees this who can raise more awareness and keep the narrative very much alive in the public domain, not paint over the issues.

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