Graffiti on display at Santa Ana College & all over Santa Ana too!

Here we go again. One of our recent posts touched on the issue of graffiti – and it quickly became a debate as to whether or not graffiti is art. Now Santa Ana College is addressing the same issue, with an art show devoted to graffiti.

Here are some excerpts from an article in the O.C. Register about this art show:

The exhibit, which opens to the public on Thursday, treats graffiti as an act of expression, not just an act of vandalism.

The director of the gallery, Phillip Marquez, has already heard grumblings from people who say the show glorifies the kind of criminal behavior that blights the community. After all, the City of Santa Ana measures how much graffiti it has to scrub out every year in millions of square feet.

“It’s a huge problem. That’s really the reason I wanted to do a show about graffiti,” Marquez said. “There’s always going to be that element of adolescence that needs to express itself.”

The exhibit opens with real-world photos from Santa Ana, black-and-white images of graffiti sprayed across buildings and block walls, fences and trucks. The city has such a graffiti problem that a special police task force focuses on it full-time, and the current city budget sets aside nearly $2 million for graffiti abatement.

Santa Ana police made more than 500 graffiti-related arrests last year. But the city still gets hundreds of calls every month from residents and business owners complaining of tags or graffiti sprayed across their property or scratched into their windows.

Marquez got the idea for a graffiti exhibit as he biked along the paint-splotched Santa Ana River Trail. He wanted to give the people who paint graffiti a chance to explain what they do, and why.

Most of the 20 graffiti painters whose work appears in the show are students at Santa Ana College; Marquez met them through a digital media class. Only a few of them signed their real names to their work; the others used their monikers: Slug and Mewt, Stud and Majik.

One of them, Frank “Knuckles” Torres, wrote in a short essay that graffiti is “my way to express myself to the public without saying a word

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.