Graffiti and collectivism

Four or five months ago I went on a graffiti photographic shoot. I went through parts of the the city to find the best graffiti artwork to use them on my website and so forth. In my two day effort I found many high quality pieces and photographically recorded them. Included were 16 photographs I took of famous work of Despicable me which were by far the best.

In the last week there has been a uproar because the council painted over this piece of graffiti artwork. It is only since this has come out in the press, that I found out it was painted by Stormie Mills, a famed graffiti artist.

But a friend of mine has told me I must watermark the photos I took. I photographed Despicable me 16 times all in high definition and all from different angles and so forth. She said I probably have the most extensive photographic record of Stormie Mills famous Despicable me artwork, that has now gone forever.

As you can see my watermarking abilities need a little bit of help but you get the idea.

Despicable me water mark copy


Yesterday Stormie Mills produced another piece of graffiti where his previous Despicable me had been. He says he used a symbol of a skeleton because of the death of his previous work.


Stormie 1

However I am left at an impasse. The graffiti movement is all about giving the artwork away for free. It’s a rejection of the mainstream society’s self ownership mentality where everything is owned by somebody. The graffiti movement is a rejection of this mentality of individualism and says lets look at society in a collective way. A rejection of the idea of individualistic ownership and moves towards the philosophy of collectivism as a society.

If I use watermarks then I am taking ownership of a piece of artwork that comes from a non ownership philosophy of collectivism.

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2 Responses to “Graffiti and collectivism”

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  1. KYLady says:

    Tony – I understand the point you are making, but your photographs are your creation. Putting a watermark on them could serve to keep somebody else from claiming ownership and perhaps profiting from them. Graffiti is created on a wall without prior permission, which implies that the creator has no legal rights or expectation of permanence. Here today, gone tomorrow, like a sand castle or a sidewalk chalk drawing. Stormie’s work is fun to look at though. Maybe you should commission him to paint your house. 🙂

  2. Tony White says:

    Hi KYLady,

    That is a good question. I would assume that if it ever went to court, and Stormie’s might one day, the owner of the wall would have ownership of the art on it. I guess that would be so? The press report that Stormies Despicable me artwork was worth $20,000. I am not to sure how they came up with that figure but they did.

    If Stormie became very famous then the photos I have might be worth something as his art of despicable me is now obviously gone.

    It’s just that i do like the approach of the graffiti movement in how they are not trying to make money out of what at times is very good artwork. They simply put it out in the public for everybody to see and don’t ask for any payment. A philosophy that is very foreign to Australians and maybe would be a good thing for our society if it was done a bit more. It certainly would be good (in my view) for Australians to have more of a collectivist view of society.

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