We watched Exit Through the Gift Shop yesterday, the documentary about street art and graffiti artists like Banksy, Space Invader and Shepard Fairey. Banksy and his amazing art serve as the framework for this brilliant piece of movie making where Banksy portrays artistic expression vs. “artistic” expression and asks whether art can be defined solely by people’s willingness to pay money for it. Do craft and technique really matter?
I respect Banksy’s artistic prowess. He has clear technique and a point of view as well as an ability to keep his identity private, no small thing in a world where we get photographed several hundred times a day. He’s also smart and funny and makes tagging look like superhero work.
Today I woke up with two disparate holidays to celebrate: Marilyn Monroe’s birthday (she’s 85!) and the anniversary of the Superman comic debut.
At breakfast we discussed how to celebrate these two people and in the spirit of Gift Shop, someone suggested creating a picture tag of Marilyn with a superman tattoo and putting it up somewhere. We could be the Banksys of Bellingham! We got a bit intoxicated by the idea and even went so far as to design the tag and consider our options. Then I realized that there would be no way to tell that story here without busting myself (and possibly Bet) and risking a malicious mischief sentence, which seems a bit far to go for a holiday. Doing all that work and not talking about it here seemed even worse. I hate having a great story that I can’t tell.
However, I loved the tagging idea so I created a little alter ego, incorporated both Marilyn Monroe and Superman, and let her wreak some havoc for me in a very short story.
Meet Thelma, a mild mannered librarian by day:
And The Kryptonite Bombshell, a cape-wearing graffiti artist by night:
She starts off by tagging her own house, just to try out her technique.
The success of her first tag so excites her that the next night she tags a railroad trestle where she saw Bob Dylan hanging out playing guitar:
And the local Medieval Times restaurant:
She only planned on 2 tags but overcome with tagging mania, she stops in an alley on her way home to tag a garbage truck:
Just as she gets the tag positioned, a car zooms up and two policeman approach her saying “Step away from the garbage truck, ma’am!”
And thrown in the slammer.
So ends the 2 day tagging spree of the Kryptonite Bombshell.
Remember kids, jail is no fun. Best not to get caught.
Happy birthday Marilyn Monroe and Superman!