Let me tell you - I abhor, loathe and detest nearly all graffiti. I hate it when it is on bus shelters. I hate it when it is on lavatory walls. I hate big examples of graffiti and I hate tiny examples of it. As far as I am concerned, the vast majority of graffiti is absolute rubbish and has no artistic merit whatsoever. I scorn those mugs and liberal pseudo-intellectuals who make out that graffiti is an art form. This is utter balderdash. Most graffiti makers are spotty, socially incompetent teenage boys who know as much about art as I know about astrophysics.
Here in South Yorkshire, a graffiti vandal called Simon Sunderland was imprisoned a few years ago for blighting the region with his ugly trademark "Fista" scrawl. He was deemed to be a victim of misunderstanding and prejudice and recently even had an exhibition of his masturbatory graffiti in a local art gallery. I went to see it. It was, as I had expected, pure crap. And it made me angry to think that this moron, whose ugly spray painting can still be found on motorway bridges and industrial walls has been placed on a pedestal by some misguided do-gooders and called an "artist". He is not an artist, He is a criminal who cared not one jot that he was spoiling the landscape of South Yorkshire for other inhabitants.
I hate the self-indulgence of these shadowy graffiti makers. If they were writing something of a political nature - something that was meant to make you think, change things, then my annoyance would surely soften. You know what I mean - "Give Peace A Chance!" or "Stop The War in Iraq!" - stuff like that. But what these vandals are usually doing is glorifying themselves and selfishly spoiling the urban environment with meaningless sprayed patterns and words that mean nothing to the majority of onlookers.
If caught, I think it should be standard that those responsible for graffiti should be equipped with overalls, goggles and powerful cleaning fluid sprays to remove their handiwork. This would also apply to the hyped up Banksy who has been gaining urban kudos he doesn't deserve for his banal stencilled graffiti around London, Bristol etc..
But having said all of this, I must admit that I have an urge to make some graffiti myself. There is an ugly motorway bridge between the M18 and the M1 in South Yorkshire, just east of Sheffield. For twenty years I regularly drove under this bridge and these words in whitewash paint told me that I was nearly home - "I Love Janice". A couple of years ago the Motorway Maintenance authorities must have decided to clean away this graffiti. You can still see the ghost words but what I now want to paint in whitewash on that concrete is "I Still Love Janice", whoever she might be... I don't suppose I will ever do it but if I did, you can bet your life that a police car would cruise beneath the underpass just as I was painting the word "Love"...