‘A multitude of talentless taggers’

9 06 2012

A former Conservative leader on Bristol City Council has fulfilled all of his party’s stereotypes for old-fashioned fuddy-duddyness by claiming that the ruling Liberal Democrat administration has become “fixated upon street art” to the detriment of the city’s prosperity.

“Sadly, for every Banksy in this world, there is a multitude of talentless taggers,” said Richard Eddy (right), golliwog fan and Conservative councillor for Bishopsworth, in questions tabled for this month’s cabinet meeting.

“This questionable art form is even being proposed as part of a £100,000 make-over for other parts of Bedminster under the Portas Pilots initiative. We need to know what sort of consultation has or will take place over using yet more money for this purpose.

“I am concerned that the Lib Dems seem to have become fixated upon street art as some kind of magic bullet to solve our urban ills and provide a quick fix to economic regeneration.

“Of course, in reality, I suspect much of this wall-to-wall graffiti will age very quickly and lend an impoverished aspect to most of the areas it has permanently infiltrated.

“I intend to find out where this policy of council collusion is taking us and whether in fact the present administration is hell-bent on turning Bristol into the graffiti capital of Europe.”

Eddy may be incorrect in that last assumption, because last year’s See No Evil on Nelson Street and last week’s Upfest on North Street proved that Bristol is already the graffiti capital of Europe.

I share a small bit of sympathy for Eddy’s views, as not every work that I saw on North Street after Upfest will be to everybody’s tastes. But then, that’s art. Opening in the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank next week is an exhibition called Invisible, featuring blank canvasses, and just that.

A spot of colour is better than nothing. Just take a look at these before and after photos from See No Evil, as a drab and concrete thoroughfare was turned into a vibrant and colourful outdoor art gallery, which still attracts many people with cameras every day almost a year after artists took over the street.

Eddy’s comments are ill-judged and misinformed. It’s almost as if there was a mayoral election coming up and he wants to garner himself a few much-needed column inches.