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TRISTAN MANCO  Illustrator, graphic designer, art director, arts author and educator developed his career in music advertising. Spending time with musician Peter Gabriel producing album covers started him on this road followed by a spell in Bangladesh with a band called Joi.

An interest in street art followed with numerous books on Stencil art and their artists, most famous of which is the Scarlet Pimpernel of the art world, Banksy.

All forms of street art seem to attract this man, and his promoting of this controversial art form in all its guises from the brick wall to the book shelf. Logo’s, subvertising (doctoring an advert bill board to change its meaning), runic graffiti and magical realism all fall under his chosen remit.

He defines Street Art as a blend of – Communication, Context, Creativity, Community.

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This insightful talk into the world of graffiti appeared to try to raise the profile of our perception of this art form described by many as destructive and symbolic of an underworld populated by non conformity.

My mind has never been made up in relation to graffiti as an art form. If the style is done well and is displayed in a gallery or show, I am more inclined to view it as art. Predominately though graffiti is created in situ and thus only displayed in deprived and derelict areas serving to reinforce how detached the artist is from the rest of society. Their ‘right’ to own a space is at the root of the graffiti artists world, and their expressed authority that any flat surface is theirs on which to daub their paint takes precedence.  The wishes of those that have to live with or next to the finished work are blindly ignored causing dissent and resentment. Criminal gangs association with the art form (tagging) reinforces the publics negative perception and this supersedes any aesthetic value the art may deliver.

To be true street art it must be painted in situ but to be accepted by a wider audience the negativity elements must be addressed or it will forever remain a fringe art form. Tristan’s books help bring this about by serving to raise the art from the grimy gutter, transforming it into a medium that this wider audience can accept and finally judge the art on its own merits.

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