‘The 100’ #41 – Vancouver Street Art – Hack…

A hoarding decorated by a hired artist displaying iconic images of the north west coast: mountains, forests, ocean and a pod of killer whales. But the image has been hacked and the decorative idealism destroyed. The hacker’s addition is far from visually appealing and is far from the more aesthetic efforts of his spray painting ilk. He / she has hacked the mural with basic and minimalistic text but it is effective within its own context. Most will have considered this as pure vandalism with no artistic merit. I see it as an inartistic but honest attack on the surreal nature of such an image placed amongst the reality of such ugly and unappealing architecture which is itself a hack on the urban environment. The writer has obviously taken much effort to climb up to the high mural to post his / her iconoclastic statement and must have felt strongly enough about the mural to risk discovery and the legal consequences.
What do you think?

Street poem by Robert Montgomery.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.


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28 thoughts on “‘The 100’ #41 – Vancouver Street Art – Hack…

    1. Thank you Terry. As for my next creation, I also can’t wait to see it – I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump recently and am trying to resolve some paintings that refuse to converse with me – a period of creative silence that you, and a few others have picked up on…

      1. Thank you John. The muse is a fickle one. “creative silence” I like that phrase. I also experience that silence from the muse – I suppose the children of the gods also get tired. Peace. Have a great day.

      2. Thanks for your supportive words – I know I am not alone with these frustrations and am trying to be philosophical about it all. I touch on it a little more in my next post…

  1. I have to admit, it took me a while to make sense of not only the graffiti, but also the original image. But once I had a grip on what I was looking at, (I was searching so hard for the “product” all billboards must be selling, it didn’t register as simply a mural) I’m afraid I drew a different conclusion than you. Even though I prefer your interpretation!
    But it looks to me as a comment that is more in the ad hominem strain, than the philosophy of nature vs. urbanization. By which I mean, someone REALLY did not like the artwork and is calling the artist of the work a hack. While it is a pretty vapid piece of artwork… to go to all the trouble…kind of mean, I think.

  2. I see it as an inartistic but honest attack on the surreal nature of such an image placed amongst the reality of such ugly and unappealing architecture which is itself a hack on the urban environment.

    Insightful. The urban environment itself is a hack on Mother Earth.

  3. I agree with your assessment on Hack, perhaps a surreal adjustment to a surreal piece, but the adjustment is not as brutish as it could or perhaps should be.

    The Robert Montgomery piece is a gem.

    1. Right on comment Carl – I agree, although perhaps the Hack needn’t be “brutish” to be more effective. It could have contained either more juxtaposed visual wit or aesthetic content greater than its target – or both. However, we need to remember the speed required to apply even one word and then to get out fast, ahead of the fuzz…

  4. Isn’t most “street art” basically vandalism (except if you get the proper permits and pay municipal fees)? Maybe some of it is an open invitation for others to add stuff; the street is ever changing after all.

    1. Don’t get me started! – I use the term, ‘street art’ too loosely. There is actually a whole hierarchy here from Street art (or post-graffiti – e.g. Banksy, Shepard Fairey) a term used to distinguish contemporary artwork in public spaces from territorial graffiti, vandalism and corporate art – to tagging of the lowest artistic merit. The street IS ever changing and styles of art found on the street are also changing, much as gallery art has changed over history. So, with respect, I disagree that most street art is “basically vandalism”…

  5. Perhaps the Hack tag is an ego trip. A sort of “I can top that” message. After all the mural is fairly arresting. What better place to be noticed? Tonally it adds some sting, but if it’s the beginning of a rash of tags that’s a shame.

  6. i have seen iterations of this empty boosterism-inspired graphic (i would not call the image art in any sense – it is void of context and appears in identical copies all over non-occupied billboards, owed, of course, by the ever present billionaire blowhard j pattison) and applaud any criticism, however bland and discordant. bc, ‘the most beautiful place on earth’, is filled with ugliness and real life, and i cannot help but applaud when the american-style hype, whether visual, textual or verbal, is tarpooned. right on, hack.

  7. LOL…ugly architecture and advertising…two topics dear to my heart. One must go searching for nice architecture built for a purpose other than mere shelter and economic constraints…and one must simply not watch TV or look at billboards to avoid the trap which is advertising…

  8. Reminds me of two movies… Brazil, where the billboards become prison walls… And They Live, clearly the graffiti artist is pointing out what he sees with the “truth” glasses on….

    But I also have a soft spot for Vancouver, I suppose one man’s prison is another man’s paradise, eh? 😉

    1. Great comment dreamwalker, thanks for stopping by. It’s hard for me to imagine how a prison can become a paradise but the other way around – not hard at all…

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