Is graffiti an art form?

As I watch the exotic names pass by, my imagination is taken to travel and what might be in those boxes stacked two high.

Art or vandalism? Graffiti is a common cultural phenomenon found on the sides of rail cars across Canada. These cars passed through Chase last month heading west.

Art or vandalism? Graffiti is a common cultural phenomenon found on the sides of rail cars across Canada. These cars passed through Chase last month heading west.

With the connection to the Coast, we are able to watch freight cars come and go, with logos representing businesses from all over the globe.

As I watch the exotic names pass by, my imagination is taken to travel and what might be in those boxes stacked two high, from those oh so foreign lands.

Recently I noticed how much graffiti is on the side of many rail cars, tanker or freight trailers. They have become the canvas for many a spray can-wielding artist. The talent is incredible, some with poetic qualities expressed in the work.

While listening to CBC radio, I heard a protest from a nightclub owner in Montreal, where liquor licences are denied for any establishment showcasing hip-hop. Hip-hop and graffiti have been long associated, broadly making it into mainstream culture.

Our educators nurture students along a path toward maximum potential, eventually making it to university where minds are said to be opened further.

Where societies are accepting of cultural differences, our environment can only be enriched by mainstream opportunities given to new modes of expression.

Art and music are languages that transcend all spoken communication, as long as the message is thoughtfully articulated for the masses in a public forum. What happens in private is a whole other editorial.

Fine arts are as important in the formation of thought, as in ultimately expressing a perspective. It takes huge discipline to learn a musical instrument, perform a complicated dance, or create a fabulous sculpture or painting.

Writing scripts, press releases, or email messages, in addition to creative prose or poetry, have transferable skills for life development.

Project  management and entrepreneurial skills are useful in any business, whether the project be a large production in a theatre of thousands, or a blank canvas with whatever media is available at the time. There is something learned in the freedom of expression.

Chase property maintenance bylaw speaks to a property owner’s responsibility to keep things neat and tidy, toward a wholesome, aesthetically pleasing community. The bylaw includes graffiti.

Painting on property without permission to do so, whether public or private, is vandalism plain and simple. Too many resources are consumed in the clean up of vandalized property, public funds that could be better used elsewhere.

According to Couns. Rick Berrigan and Steve Scott, who are also involved with the Youth Action Committee in town, there will be opportunity for artists to show their artistic talents when the new skateboard park opens. Here again, the work must be acceptable to the whole community.

Berrigan has just retired from his career with CP Rail. He said there’s not much they can do about the graffiti unless they can catch the vandals in the act.

Rail cars are often adorned with the logos of the owner companies, not intended to be painted over. The other unfortunate part is the anonymity of the artist, whose talent goes unrecognized.

The next time you are late for an appointment, patiently waiting for a train to pass by, consider the traveling art show as it passes by –  may as well sit back and enjoy.