Put down the bong and the focus group study

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to reach banality in the eyes of this boy, an artist shows zero originality or creative capabilities and simply plagiarizes someone else’s already-trite idea or slogan.

The picture below is of the alley wall adjacent to where I park my car in Duluth.

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This “artist” spent the time and money to buy three different cans of spray paint and risked getting caught by the police to write what, a pot-smoking slogan? Put down the bong, buddy, and think of something that defines you.

Once you do, you have my unauthorized permission to hit the streets and display your work again because street art has immense value to our collective social consciousness. Check out the work of British street artist Banksy:

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Some crotchety conservatives would consider street art to be vandalism — and my alley is a perfect example of such waste — but like the above picture of detainees at Gitmo, there can be a profound messages displayed.

With over saturation from today’s mass marketing, meaningful and unexpected art can be a breath of fresh air. A chance to witness something provocative, yet not focus-group filtered. A reprieve from the constant inundation of corporate sales pitches.

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If you still think this form of satire is just vandalism, do not look at this week’s Time magazine. The cover shot of President-elect Obama is a rendition of street artist Shepard Fairey, who normally tags skateboard parks.

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The image, in eyes of Time’s managing editor Richard Stengel, is representative of Obama’s populist appeal. Time also had a multi-page spread of dynamic art that was inspired by the hope people have in Obama. That, my friends, is beautiful.

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