Dear ZZZ: Banksy, You Are Not • Long Beach Post

Photo by Brian Addison.


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Dear ZZZ:

Banksy, you are not.

Your legal name doesn’t particularly matter outside my hope that the LBPD discovers it and, given your “artistic” moniker of ZZZ, there is a deep irony that while you are attempting to be cool, your work does nothing more than put us all to sleep.

I just wanted to inform you that you are indeed an asshat. It doesn’t even matter what you seem yourself: writer, graffiti artist, street artists. Doesn’t matter. You’re none. We got a brief glimpse of (at least one of if you’re a crew) you on camera, so we know you’re white and young and most likely a male—clearly Shepard Fairey or the taggers at 5 Pointz taught you little—but before knowing all that, we knew you were uninspired, lacked creativity, and probably have ego issues that are directly related to your nether regions.

Your sole goal in life, as of late, is to run around the entirety of Bluff Heights to spray paint—in quite arguably the most banal way ever—your signature of “ZZZ,” a weak attempt at notoriety or fame. Over and over, on anything: from real estate signs to murals, trash cans to the sides of businesses. Like a male feline unable to control the aim of its piss, you do not discriminate. Just mark. One of your more infuriating pissings—the one that prompted this rant—was when you marked a community chalk board on 4th Street at Temple, one that is typically reserved for lovers secretly saying hi to another or kids letting their creativity out.

Don’t confuse “asshat” with some ironic form of being an ass. No, you’re not the person who is actually intelligent but lacks an eloquent of expressing it. You’re not the person who is brutally honest but lacks a more eloquent way of expressing it. You’re a hat. For an ass. As in a donkey.

ZZZ_001

I assure you this: it won’t last long because you don’t provide anything worthwhile. See, your confusion lies in the fact that marking a territory isn’t what graffiti is about anymore unless you’re marginalized. And given you have yet to step onto a street above 4th, I highly doubt you’re marginalized. Even worse is that worthwhile thing I bring up. Unlike the tagger of Lord Windsor, who left a skateboarding eyeball that left owner Wade Windsor smiling because of its creativity (his tacky lettering, however, was removed), you leave nothing. You don’t even tell us anything, like taggers did in Paris in ’68 when they kept reminding people that “under the paving stones, the beach” (“sous les pavés, la plage“).  You aren’t telling people to Dick Nixon Before He Dicks Them. You are insulting graffiti, street art, and the art of tagging.

And this isn’t to say I don’t understand you. I’m the dude who has advocated for free, open graffiti/tagging spaces.

Many years ago when I was an aspiring everything—y’know, the age where you’re naïvely confident that there is little you can’t do—I fell in love with street art. (Sure, different from tagging and street writing but in the same vein.) From Saber to Skullphone to Help Desk, these LA artists—providing commentary on everything from consumerism to racism, homophobia to illiteracy—inspired the guerrilla within me.

It fostered the ad campaign I made for the club night I was promoting back in the day (ah, I was such a go-getter). It inspired the “Commodified” series I did where I mocked hipsterdom and its commodified obsession with everything from vintage clothing to hip-hop culture. It brought forth my appropriation of real estate signs, where during the Great Recession, I subtly altered “For Sale” signs to inform buyers how their wallets were getting raped.

If you’re gonna break the law, ZZZ, at least take down some part of the power structure with you. Take a cue from Flip or Chase. Until then, I’m gonna go back to bed.

Sincerely,

Brian Addison

Writer/Failed Street Artist

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