April 20th, 2010
GRAFFITI in MISSISSAUGA: Preliminary Report (April 19, 2009 – April 19, 2010) baseline
On April 19, 2009, we conducted our first Brampton/Mississauga graffiti survey and documented several study sites many times throughout the year. Since then we’ve photographed and videotaped Brampton/Mississauga graffiti/tagging “expressions” right up to yesterday, April 19, 2010 –the first anniversary of our two-year study.
We will state up front that we have never nor will we ever report graffiti to authorities. For one thing we are documenting how long graffiti stays up. For another, some of the graffiti we’ve seen is, at least in our opinion, Art! As in real Art, Art.
We recognize that there is a “Mississauga graffiti wall” but because of difficulty accessing this area, it is not included in our study.
When we originally started out on this research project, we’d expected to find a strong correlation between high-activity graffiti locations and High Risk Social Index neighbourhoods. While that is true to some extent, it is not always the case. For example, our greatest surprise was the lack of significant graffiti activity in Malton.
Another surprise was the lack of graffiti on Mississauga school walls (Peel and Dufferin-Peel schools were surveyed). A (very) few schools did attract considerable graffiti activity based on the amount of paint patches and scrubbed brick but it’s clear that such events are rare for the majority of Mississauga schools that we examined. We believe that lack of graffiti speaks well for both the students and school faculty.
There have been times when we’ve come upon new graffiti but did not have a camera. We determined to return the next day to photograph it only to find the material already painted over. And yes, removal can happen that quickly. That said, there were also significant, highly-visible graffiti sites we discovered back in April 2009 that are still around today.
Regarding incidents of graffiti, Mississauga has little! Should you take a drive around Hamilton for your own quick survey, you will see a dramatic difference between graffiti expression in that city compared to here. There’s a startling difference in the nature of graffiti messages as well. Downtown Hamilton has a shocking amount of anti-police graffiti, some of it sprayed in unambiguous one-foot-high “F*** THE POLICE” black letters in that city’s parks.
By contrast, we’ve only managed to document six anti-police graffiti messages since April 19, 2009—one of which was in Brampton. In addition, Peel Regional Police graffiti records (which they generously provided through Freedom of Information with all fees waived) show a couple more anti-police examples and are not included in this report.
Does anti-police graffiti reflect the relationship between police and the community? We’re beginning to think so.
Here is what one former graffiti artist (Mississauga-based) had to say about police:
“you are absolutely right about graffiti being defined as unauthorized…and i respect the police… i havent gone out painting in a under a year because of the police haha.” [sic]
You will hear more from this young man because he’s consented to an interview. (Seems he has something to say to the politicians…)
Next, this first year graffiti data represents a kind of baseline. We have yet to do the analysis (ie: percentages) but we’re interested in trends of anti-police graffiti messages as well as Hate/Bias motivated. For example we’ve documented considerably more of the latter and fear such under-rumblings promise only to get worse. You know, the predictable consequences of “What happens when nothing happens?”
In the June 30, 2009 article, Youth Plan ready for implementation, the Mississauga News states that Mayor Hazel McCallion pointed out that only an estimated two per cent of young people frequently get into trouble.
The paper then quoted McCallion as saying, “We should concentrate on the 98 per cent that are good youth,” as part of the City’s new Mississauga Youth Plan. Take it from us, the City of Mississauga’s “new” plan is just like the old one. The 2 per cent who need government most are regarded as nuisances and non-conforming to Corporate objectives of running the city like a business. Given their high-maintenance proclivities, the “bad” 2 per cent youth are not good for business or the City’s Bottom Line.
MISSISSAUGAWATCH is concentrating on the “bad” 2 per cent and we believe that graffiti is an alternate voice that must be heeded in order to document what DOESN’T get communicated to local public institutions. The perceptive will appreciate why.
And the signs said the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence
The Sound of Silence: Simon and Garfunkel
For more on graffiti in Mississauga, please check out: www.mississaugawatch.ca/blog/?s=GRAFFITI
Last, a repeat graffiti video shown in yesterday’s Blog containing some of the graffiti shown here in this report.
Again, a reminder. Much of the graffiti in this video is HIGHLY OFFENSIVE to viewers.
Video: GRAFFITI TRUTH: “BURN THAT F***ER TO THE GROUND IF THEY DON’T LOVE YOU LIKE THEY SHOULD” (5:24 min)
(April 20, 2010)
UPDATE, April 21, 2010 BEGINS (SUPPORT IMAGES) :
“some of the graffiti we’ve seen is, at least in our opinion, Art! As in real Art, Art.”
“We determined to return the next day to photograph it only to find the material already painted over. And yes, removal can happen that quickly.” Example. There on April 19, 2010, gone by April 21st.
* Please note: It has not escaped us that Brampton and Mississauga have an aggressive graffiti removal service whereas City of Hamilton may be cash-strapped or have other priorities. Regardless, it’s important to document the graffiti messages in order to track changes over time. There’s definitely a culture there!
This graffiti site has remained stable since we first discovered it back on April 27, 2009. We revisited on March 29, 2010 and discovered new tags and since that visit, a green fist appears beside graffiti that had been sprayed over and “niggaz BLEED” has been added as well as some other material.
Thought I’d share this drive-through of this study site on March 29, 2010 and comparative from April 27, 2009 for researchers and graffiti-types. It’s interesting to compare the video footage to today’s images (above). Again, a reminder, please don’t view this video if you have a problem with Reality (feel free to head off to mississauga.ca instead and Pretend Positive.)
Video: GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA (Site Comparison: April 27, 2009 and March 29, 2010) RESEARCH (2:40 min)
(April 21, 2010)