May 12, 2014


Last week, I made some errands and walked into town from the opposite direction of what I usually do. It was a lovely day, you can really feel that spring is in the air, although the ice in the northern harbour had not yet gone (it might still be there, I haven´t looked).

I passed the municipal graffiti boards, which are subject to some debate. Do they promote a destructive and non-desirable subculture or are they a way to encourage the creative and frustrated youth? The police doesn´t seem to like them, nor do the conservatives. The left generally supports the graffiti boards and advocate that more be put up. But I suppose for many, the attitude comes from an "if you can´t beat them, join them" point of view, which isn´t really genuinely supportive. And how can you be supportive of vandalism, which much of graffiti is?

Painting on walls isn´t part of Swedish culture at all (though there are some rare examples of it), and some probably think any mural is graffiti. In other countries, the attitude is very different, in Switzerland for example, we saw incredible paintings all over the old town, many of which were religious in content. In a culture like that, perhaps painting on walls isn´t as oppositionally charged as here - but I really don´t know (and of course we did see some graffiti there).

My personal attitude is that as long as it is made with taste and style (which is subjective, of course, and all according to my own idea of what that is), I´m all for it.



  1. we don't have dedicated graffiti walls here, but we do have graffiti. some businesses contract with the artists to beautify their space, and some works are placed on large spaces like retaining walls by local artists. sometimes the city leaves those and sometimes they are painted over. i like graffiti if it's intended to be art and if it is ok with the property owner, but not if it is tagging by gangs. it's pretty easy to tell the difference. the examples you show? i like those! :)

    1. Yes, there is a definite graffiti aesthetic, isn´t there?