What is the future of graffiti?

Ever since graffiti started artists have been pushing the style as hard as they can to get the most intricate or the most visually appealing work out to the public.  Since the early days not much has changed in the actual technology of graffiti – paint is still paint, cans are still cans.  However we are now in the technological age and I believe that we are only recently starting to see the merging of graffiti and technology to produce something that is truly a hybrid or at the very least a style that is going to take graffiti into the next phase.

I’m sure I am not the only one that sees how far graffiti has managed to infiltrate society.  Once graffiti was a major illegal art form, now mass corporations have adopted the style to sell anything from cloths to anything that is considered “street”.

There are a few notable examples of graffiti meeting technologies that have sprung up over the last few years… Most notably the Graffiti Research Lab (http://graffitiresearchlab.com).  Who’s slogan is “dedicated to outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication” – beautiful.

If you’ve seen some of their works you’d be familiar with the laser based graffiti tagging rig.  Essentially the concept behind it is using lasers and projections to tag a public space with light.  What I really like about this is that it takes the clean commercial sterile advertising of a city and projects its own message on top of it without destroying anything.

The technology aside, this is a powerful way of getting a message into a public space – what really is significant about this is that it is the message itself that is the problem…. People’s thoughts projected on the side of a building could be a very dangerous thing.

What is the future of graffiti? I really think that at some point there is going to be a shift in thinking towards graffiti.  As future artists come along they are going to want to make their work stand out and try to take the style in a new direction (as has been the way from the beginning).  Future generations will have tools available that we can’t even imagine today.  20 years from now who knows what type of technology or device/s will be available to young people to express a message or idea.  I for one hope that it is something widely accessible, cheap and digital and that it take graffiti beyond a crime and moves it into a widely acceptable artistic style.