Legalised graffiti in Harrogate?
Do you want to see a legal graffiti wall in Harrogate? Local urban artist Greg Metcalfe is campaigning for just that.
Graffiti can be quite a divisive thing. There are some people who think it’s pure vandalism and others who feel it’s a genuine art form that we should embrace. Perhaps it depends on the quality, the aesthetic value gleaned from a piece of graffiti that decides whether it’s art or vandalism. Perhaps it depends where it is, how intrusive it is and whether it sits comfortably with its surroundings.
In a pretty old town like Harrogate there are sure to be many in the vandalism camp, but with artists like Banksy transforming previously ignored concrete and stone into artistic attractions, maybe we should be a little more open-minded about graffiti.
Like Banksy, Greg Metcalfe is an artist whose medium of choice is the spray can and the template. He is responsible for a Banksyesque piece on a wall between Kings Road and Back Cheltenham Mount, and he has been arrested for his urban illustrations in Harrogate.
According to the Harrogate Advertiser Greg has battled drug addiction, as well as cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2011. He said:
“I just love art, it’s what helped me through the last two years. There’s nowhere kids can go to learn about urban art, and we need to encourage them to get involved. It’s meant to be an accepted form of art.”
Harrogate councillor Richard Cooper responded to Greg’s call for a legal graffiti space, saying:
“We need to deal with the issue sensitively. It would need to be in a location that wouldn’t ruin the character of our town. I’m happy to look at any way that would stop people creating more [illegal] graffiti.”
Greg Metcalfe has organised a clean-up of his previous graffiti to show the council that he is happy to work with them if they agree to a legal graffiti wall. There are 77 such walls currently in the UK.
So should the council say yes to a graffiti wall in Harrogate? Will this reduce other scribblings around the town or give aspiring urban artists a space to work on their medium of choice? Let us know what you think.