We have all been in an underpass and if we are lucky, we've seen a remarkable unofficial mural depicting the community edge. It always seems like a crime when some well-meaning local authority employs a person with our taxes to wipe away the beautiful art. Should have got a permission slip. I'm sure they're not hard to find and if they are, we should change that. The thing is, communal images really help to bring a sense of identity and togetherness for everyone who sees it on their daily routine. If they're of a high enough quality then they can only serve to increase the cultural and economic value of an area.
Dubbed “The Banksy of Stevenage”, Mark Tanti is best known for his artworks decorating the area behind ASDA on Monkswood Way. His marvellous and quirky image depicts themes taken from Disney's The Sword in the Stone and The Land Before Time. In fact, these are not the only images, Tanti is part of an ongoing scheme involving local artists that aims to make Stevenage a great place to cycle and walk.
In order to preserve the brilliant designs put down by the professionals, who let's face it are just amateurs who didn't quit, the works are being coated in transparent graffiti-proof paint. Mark has now set up his own graffiti art firm which is set to further normalise and institutionalise the art. So far Mark has been putting in his own time and money to fund the work, which ultimately benefits the whole community. It's not popular to ask residents to pay for things they didn't ask for when their bills are already so high however there has to be a bridge of finance that allows work like this to thrive in all communities.
What is the value in community art, if it remains in place for a generation or more? Surely it should be more than one person's uniquely savant passion.
Via The Stevenage Comet
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