100m Dash - Criminal Chalkist
what: Olympic themed street art
why: because we are loving the Olympics and avidly supporting team GB but we are also in huge support of London's Street Art scene and shocked to learn that many of these pieces have been painted over - especially those featuring the synonymous interlocking rings.
Locog, the Olympic organisers have stated clearly that there are no 'official' guidelines on the removal of graffiti but despite this there has been outrage amongst the Street Art scene that even works on private property with permission to be painted such as Mau Mau's 'the corporate take over of the Olympics' featuring a fat Macdonald's clown with a Coke shaped torch have disappeared. Speaking to the Telegraph Mau Mau said "There's a more widespread clean-up operation than normal, definitely" "There's loads of work disappearing from the tracksides by the railways".
Geoff Whitehouse of Very Nearly Almost a magazine dedicated to Street Art speaking to the BBC says "It's been going on for over a year or more with a general clean-up around Hackney" "This is part of a wider issue where councils proclaim to zero tolerance policy on graffiti as it is vandalism and deemed illegal, yet will also help protect work by Banksy". Keep Britain Tidy Manager Helen Bingham acknowledges this contradiction "There's a difference between low grade tagging and the work people like Banksy do", she said. "You have to look at it and know the difference - it's not a black and white thing." Clearly then problem then lies with those with an untrained eye being allowed to make the decision about what is or isn't deemed art.
The location of Banksy's Olympic-themed mural of a Javelin thrower hurling a rocket shown on his website has been kept a secret in fear of removal by the authorities. The Street Artist Darren Cullen who was arrested last week on suspicion of incitement to commit criminal damage and is now banned from all Olympic venues says "I have no idea why the authorities are trying to clean the street up. This is what East London is known for. It is the Mecca, the number one place for street art in the world". And we here at i heart teaching art are inclined to agree. After all there is nothing like stumbling across a clever, well executed piece of street art. These streets are the world stage for such artists in the same way as the stadium is so for the athlete's and we feel it deserve's to be celebrated!
What's your view? Feel free to enter the debate by commenting below.