Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. – Denis Waitley

Riding a train on our way to Abbottsford five years ago, I pondered over my vacation to Melbourne. All I could think of at first was how expensive this vacation is. Everything cost more than back home and that is partly because I am staying in a hotel in the central business district. Once I started converting Australian dollars to pesos, I feel like I am splurging when that is not really the case. The standard of living is just high here. But see, life is short fretting on material things that it is actually the time spent with my daughter that is most precious. There is a tendency for human beings to have this infinite capacity for taking things for granted. I don’t want to make that mistake.

I loved spending time with my daughter. She is like me in so many ways. We enjoy the arts, having lazy brunches and just chilling and enjoying the scenery. My daughter wanted to show me graffiti art in Hosier Lane where graffiti is not considered vandalism. Graffiti has long been a part of human history, but it wasn’t until the emergence of hip hop culture that graf began gaining recognition as an art form around the globe.

I like how supportive the City of Melbourne is towards their artists. The artwork decorating the walls near number 1 Hosier Lane and near Misty Place at number 3-5 Hosier Lane have been approved as registered street artwork. There is symbolisms out there for every artwork.

I get into the mind of Banksy , a prolific graffiti artist from Bristol, UK, whose artwork has appeared throughout Bristol, London and other locations around the world to understand graffiti art.

Is graffiti art or vandalism? That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don’t like to use the word ‘art’ at all.

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish. But that’s only if it’s done properly.”

” I never use sketchbooks in the way you imagine a “real” artist does – perched in a terrace cafe with a pencil capturing the essence of their muse. I tried that once when I was on holiday with a girl, but her nose came out so big in the drawing that she never let me touch her again.”

“Bus stops are far more interesting and useful places to have art than in museums. Graffiti has more chance of meaning something or changing stuff than anything indoors. Graffiti has been used to start revolutions, stop wars, and generally is the voice of people who aren’t listened to. Graffiti is one of those few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make somebody smile while they’re having a piss.”

“A lot of people never use their initiative because nobody told them to”.

“Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day, we read novels by the millions, and buy records by the billions. ‘We the people’ affect the making and quality of most of our culture, but not our art.”

“I like to think I have the guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in – like peace and justice and freedom.”

“Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist. It takes no money to do it, you don’t need an education to understand it and there’s no admission fee.”

“A lot of people think that scuttling around stencilling images onto buildings in the middle of the night is the action of a sad, frustrated individual who can’t get attention or recognition any other way. They might be right, but I’ve done gallery shows and, if you’ve been hitting on people with all sorts of images in all sorts of places, they’re a real step backwards, painting the streets means becoming an actual part of the city. It’s not a spectator sport.”

“Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.”

“T.V. has made going to the theatre seem pointless, photography has pretty much killed painting but graffiti has remained gloriously unspoilt by progress.”

I can discern the political nature behind the art. These artists definitely think outside the box. I know I have limitations in my visual literacy but I allowed an open mind to appreciate their work. I believe that to truly appreciate a work of art, we must bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its affairs and ideas, no familiarity with its emotions.

Most of the photos attributed to my daughter M, using a Nikon D7000. Some are from my iPhone