Sunday, February 11, 2007

The former Moseley Abbatoir and proposals for a legal graffiti art area

I’ve just uploaded a video onto YouTube at

The video shows the old Moseley abattoir building and a proposal for a legal graffiti art area in front of it. I would be interested in peoples views- is this a suitable location?

The abattoir and the proposed legal graffiti art area are owned by Posh at the Cross Bar. He is happy for this area to be used a legal graffiti art area on certain conditions – I’ll explain these later.

The proposal for this area has been the result of discussions I’ve had with many of the teenagers of Moseley and Kings Heath. After my graffiti tagging video was shown on YouTube I have had a series of discussions with many the local teenagers on MySpace.

The discussion has centered on the type of facilities they want to see in the area.

The number one thing they want is a ‘safe and secure’ area they can meet and chat – at the moment they meet in open air places like Moor Green fields, Moseley Hall hospital grounds and the local parks. Unfortunately, the sudden appearance of 50 to 60 teenagers in these areas freaks out the local residents and the local police are then contacted. I’m working on identifying such an area at the moment.

Many of the ‘leading figures’ in these teenagers are in bands and one thing they complain about is the lack of facilities for them to practice their music and also play in front of their friends. Many of the practice areas are in pubs, which they are not allowed into. We need to give some focus to this issue.

A handful of teenagers would like a legal graffiti art area. One of the things that has been most notably is the animosity felt by graffiti artists towards graffiti taggers. Graffiti artists feel that graffiti taggers are damaging their art form and can’t stand tagging – they too agree that tagging is ugly. On the other hand, graffiti taggers tag for respect they gain in their community and the ‘adrenalin rus’h of whether or not they will be caught.

Alot of the graffiti artists in Moseley are traveling down to Leamington Spa to do their art there – there are legal zones around various building sites. They will not use Selly Oak Park, which has a legal zone, since gangs hang around there and mug them for their mobile telephones. They also feel this park looks a mess, since taggers have taken over it.

The advantage of the proposed graffiti zone is:
It is out of sight – the general publics do not like graffiti art and feel it makes the area look ‘dodgy’.
It is lockable – graffiti artists will be able to work there, safe that they will not be mugged. Also, they can control who uses the site. One thing they complain about is when other graffiti artists paint over their ‘pieces’ within days of it being painted
It is overlooked by several offices, which increases the feeling of safety in the area.
It is close to Markus Galleries – Simon Markus of Markus Galleries is keen to work with the graffiti artists and sell their canvas work.

The concern of Posh of the Cross Bar, is that he doesn’t want 50 to 60 teenagers from ‘goodness knows where’ congregating round the back of his bar. This would upset the residents on Salisbury Road and put at risk the security of his own property.

We would need to restrict the number of teenagers using this area and come up with an agreed code of conduct here. Need to start discussions on this

If this works, I’m happy to set up other similar legal graffiti areas in Moseley and Kings Heath run along similar lines.

Interested in others views. Have I over stretched my neck on the block?


At 11:23 AM, Blogger David Nikel said...

Hi Martin, just wanted to say I think it's great how you are using MySpace and YouTube - keep up the good work! It's something I hope to emulate over here in Bearwood.

Regarding the graffiti issue, legal graffiti sites work very well in Venice Beach, California, so much so they are practically tourist attractions! A very different environment I know, but one I felt was worth a mention.


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