But Is It Art?

Written by Michael Stewart. Posted in Art, Street Art

I’ve long held the view that an artist/author/musician’s perceived celebrity status can blind his/her audience to the true worth of their output. This is particularly true when the perpetrator (word chosen deliberately) ventures beyond their chosen medium into other art forms in the belief that their talent is ubiquitous; something their devotees seem only too willing to accept

A case in point is the latest exploit from a certain Mr Justin Bieber. You’ll remember his comments following a recent visit to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam …quite. Apparently during his tour of Australia, the multi-talented Mr Bieber asked permission of a Gold Coast hotel manager to spray paint the walls of his suite. Recognising that Bieber was a budding Banksy – or perhaps realising the free and widespread publicity to be had for the stunt – consent was granted … but I suspect the expression “hoist with your own petard” may be applied here.

Justin Bieber Graffiti

It transpires that not everyone is as fulsome in their praise of Mr Bieber’s artistic talents as the manager of the QT Hotel. Tom Tate, Gold Coast mayor being one detractor. He is livid that his efforts to dissuade the city’s youth from joining the street art and/or graffiti contingent are being undermined by the hotel’s endorsement of the Bieber murals and is demanding that they be removed. Unrepentant, the manager has refused and is even actively encouraging street artists to add their work to his hotel’s walls; a petulant if somewhat dangerous move. Think about it. Who among the Gold Coast’s street art community will want their work associated with Mr Bieber’s daubing? Those who consider his work worthy perhaps, that is, his fans perhaps? You can see where this will end up ….

So, it’s not art …. but it’s not really rock and roll, is it? I’m sure some of you will recall the tales of Bacchanalian debauchery that punctuated the mega tours of the 1970’s; wrecked hotel rooms, cars in swimming pools, singers fixed to floors under nailed down carpets. At the risk of sounding like a Gold Coast mayor, I’m not condoning this type of destructive, hedonistic behaviour but my point is they didn’t ask permission. That’s Rock & Roll.

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IDI is a Collaborative Partner of the University Of Hertfordshire and delivers BA (Hons) Degrees online which lead to University of Hertfordshire awards in Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Architecture and Design and Photography.