Fortunately, this is not a film about itchy skin disorders. There is a movie that no-one needs to see but to be quite honest probably exists. But ‘Rash’ would be too obvious a title. You’d need something more subtle like ‘Raised and Red’- tag line ‘The true story of one woman’s struggle to fight her natural urges and find the strength to stop scratching…’. Sounds good…

Rash is, in fact, a film about graffiti. That urban art rash that gets scoured away by overzealous local authorities but reappears almost immediately. I think it’s a bit harsh comparing the quality art that these artists are spreading around the streets to a really annoying itch. But then I suppose it depends which side of the brush you are on. It probably is really annoying if you own a nice clean white wall (though really, asking for it more?) or if it’s your job to spend your days removing it from city streetscapes (although without it you wouldn’t have a job. Catch-22 y’all!).

Personally, I love street art although I’m not super fond of the lazy bus stop type tagging. It seems a bit like a dog peeing on a tree to mark its territory. A good piece of art brightening up the street though – woot! I saw an awesome one once opposite my work called “Chew Barrymore” it was a portrait of Drew Barrymore made from chewed gum, which admittedly is gross, but it looked awesome. I reckon I’ve got a photo somewhere.

Ta daaa!

Chew Barrymore  by Hyde and Seek

Chew Barrymore
by Hyde and Seek

Chew Barrymore  by Hyde and Seek Kind of gross and kind of awesome!

Chew Barrymore
by Hyde and Seek
Kind of gross and kind of awesome!

You get it, right? I like street art. And whoever made Rash likes street art too. The movie is based in Melbourne which is definitely the street art mecca of Australia. There are some amazing lane-ways packed with art that could well be displayed in any art gallery. It’s great to see on film some of the amazing artists that I’ve seen on the streets getting some recognition for their work. Unfortunately Rash was released in 2004 and a lot of the political statements made by artists are well out of date. Still, it gives you that insight into graffiti being so much more than just drawing on walls.

The views of the artists are well represented here and it’s interesting to hear how people get into graffiti art and how they deal with the transitory nature of the work. It must be hard to see your art painted over by the authorities, although seeing it fade over time is part of the art too. The luck of seeing a piece before it gets removed (such as me spotting Chew Barrymore) is part of the fun for the art lover too.

It also looks into a few of the less known forms of street art like sticker art, poster art and stencil art as well as the traditional paint on the walls. Artists have really been pushing the boundaries of street art and it’s great to see. Poster art is certainly very hip around my town right now.

I would have liked to see a few more of the naysayers interviewed and see if there really is more argument against graffiti apart from ‘it’s against the law’. Most people argue the personal property argument, which I do get, or confuse all graffiti with tagging not art.

One of the art works that blew me away was a guy who’d spent weeks collecting autumn leaves then writing little affirmations and bits of poetry on them only to spread them onto the streets from the rooftops for people to find. Talk about a transitory art medium but how wonderful it would have been to find a little piece of that art work.


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