The writing’s on the wall


Having turned respectable, graffiti culture is dying


LONDON’S fastest-changing art gallery is hidden ina sunken ball court on a housing estate in Stockwell,southLondon. On a sunny Sunday afternoon six or seven men, mostly in their 30s, are busypainting the walls with new designs. They have put up cartoons, names written in elaborate,multicoloured lettering and clever perspective tricks. Tins of spray paint and beer stand onthe ground; ladders lean against the paintings. The atmosphere is not unlike that of a golfcourse: a mix of concentration and blokey relaxation.


Graffiti painting is traditionally a daredevil pursuit. Teenagers dodge security guards to puttheir names on trains and buses. But over the past decade that has all but disappearedfromBritain’s cities. Between 2007 and 2012 the number of incidents of graffiti recorded by theBritish Transport Police fell by 63%. A survey by the environment ministry shows that fewerplaces are blighted by tags than ever. Graffiti are increasingly confined to sanctioned walls,such as the Stockwell ball courts. In time the practice may die out entirely.


The most obvious reason for the decline in tagging and train-painting is better policing, saysKeegan Webb, who runs The London Vandal, a graffiti blog. Numerous CCTV cameras mean it isharder to get away with painting illegally. And punishments are more severe. Once-prolifictaggers such as Daniel Halpin, who painted his pseudonym “Tox” all overLondon, have beengiven long prison sentences. British graffiti artists who want to paint trains usually go abroad todo it these days, says Mr Webb.

Keegan Webb,一个经营名叫“伦敦文化艺术破坏者”的涂鸦博客的博主说,绘名和铁皮车涂鸦风靡程度下降最主要的原因是政策法规更加完备。非法在墙上绘图越来越难以逃离无处不在的中央电视台摄像头,相应的惩罚也更加严重了。多产的绘名艺人Daniel Halpin把他的笔名“Tox”涂遍了整个伦敦,因此被判长期监禁。MrWebb说近来想去涂画铁皮火车的英国的涂鸦艺人通常都会选择出国。

A generational shift is apparent, too. Fewer teenagers are getting into painting walls. Theyprefer to play with iPads and video games, reckons Boyd Hill, an artist known as Solo One, whoin effect runs the Stockwell ball courts. Those who do get involved tend to prefer street art tograffiti proper (which purists define as letters and names, however elaborately drawn). Somehave gone to art school and want to make money from their paintings. The internet means thatpainters can win far more attention by posting pictures online than they can by breaking into arailway yard.


Taggers and graffiti artists mostly grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Those men—and almost allare men—are now older and less willing to take risks. “We can’t run away from the police anymore,” says Ben Eine, who turned from tagging to street art. The hip-hop culture that inspiredgraffiti in the first place has faded. Video games and comic books provide more inspirationthan music.

绘名和涂鸦艺人大都是80或90后。这个群体—大多是男士—碍于年龄,不甚愿意冒险。Ben Eine说“无论如何我们再也不能像从前那样从警察眼皮子下溜走了。”,因而他从“绘名党”转向街头艺术。刚开始掀起涂鸦的嘻哈文化已渐渐销声匿迹。相比较而言,电子游戏和漫画书比音乐更能予人灵感。

Graffiti may eventually disappear. But for now the hobby is almost respectable. Mr Eine sayshe has lots of friends who used to paint trains. Now with wives and children, they paintabandoned warehouses at the weekend. It has become something to do on a Sunday afternoon—a slightly healthier alternative to sitting watching the football

涂鸦画可能最终会消失。但是直至现在,这种爱好仍然受到人们的尊敬。Ben Eine说他有很多朋友曾经痴迷于在火车车皮厢上作画。现在有了妻儿,他们只有周末去废弃的仓库墙上大展身手。这已经成了周日下午的惯例—一种比坐在电视机前看足球略微健康的消遣。

1.put up 提供

例句:The teacher training college put up a plaque tothe college’s founder.


2.such as 诸如

例句:And they tend to do so more dramatically in adog-eat-dog sector such as the financial industry,says staw.


3.get away with 侥幸成功,逃脱处罚

例句:Few other mass-market manufacturers could get away with such predictability, but VW ismaking a virtue of consistency.


4.go abroad 出国

例句:To go abroad was quite an adventure for me.


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