This week I am going to take a different point of view on Albuquerque Street Art and Graffiti. Many of my family and friends have asked me what I consider myself to be, either a tagger or street artist. Often time’s people get these two mediums of art confused with one another. It is not easy to explain the difference between these two styles of art so I have devoted this blog post to explain their differences. Both of these art styles are considered to be rebellious art movements being portrayed within the public walls and cracks of the city. Whenever I take my routine walks through random ditches of the city, the pieces I view speak to me. It has been said that graffiti artists do not attempt to speak to the public. Generally they try to speak to other artists. I somewhat disagree with this in a sense that anyone can find meaning through graffiti and street art. From my point of view, as an aspiring street artist, I want everyone to view and be engaged through the work I produce. Both Graffiti and Street art have several differences through their techniques, function and intentions. According to dictionary.com graffiti is defined as, “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.” This now breaks down into a sub category of graffiti known as “tagging.” Tagging is when an artist’s sprays or scribes their name onto a wall. This can also be done with paint markers and brushes. From what I have learned through personal experience and observation, an artist tag is considered to be the core of graffiti. Throwing up your tag name all over town is how people will identify who you are and what you do. As for me I primarily consider myself to be a street artist rather than a tagger or writer. To me the main difference between a street artist and a graffiti writer/tagger is the overall intention of the artist. Graffiti in general has built a bad reputation being categorized as vandalizing and destructive to public property. Being called a street artist relieves the bad vibes given to that individual from the public. Becoming a street artist, I not only want the public to view my art but to truly understand what is being portrayed. Street artists want their audience to interact with their work and to have an emotional response. These are just some of the differences I have observed through my journey as a street artist here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The social media app known as “Twitter,” has grown tremendously in the past few years. I personally use Twitter on a regular basis and actually prefer it more than I do Facebook. I started a Twitter account back in 2010 when this social media outlet was on the rise to what it is today. When I first started my account I was not an active user. I rarely tweeted or shared information about myself since I really did not know how to efficiently use my account. I was so used to updating and sharing my status with my Facebook account, attempting to share information or search for friends on Twitter was foreign to me. A few years had past and I slowly started to get a feel for Twitter and how to use it accurately. As of today, I now prefer this social media outlet over Facebook. Here are several reasons why I prefer to use Twitter over my Facebook Account. Reason #1: I feel that composing a tweet is much easier and requires less effort than updating a status on Facebook. A simple tweet takes less than a minute to compose. The way in which the app is set up allows easy access to compose a tweet and shares it instantly. I feel as though updating a Facebook status is more suitable for a desktop setting. Reason #2: It is easy for you to gain more followers. Twitter is enormous. If you are new to Twitter or a small business, Twitter is big enough for you to find a general audience. Reason #3: Twitter requires you to get straight to the point. You are only limited to 140 characters. With this small amount of sharing space you need to be more direct. These are the top three reasons I enjoy using twitter and why It is more appealing to me. Here are some things I dislike about Twitter. The first thing that comes to mind is Twitter is not ideal for sharing visual content. Twitter is primarily based off of text. I am an aspiring artist and I rarely share images on my Twitter account for this reason. Another flaw I feel twitter has is its privacy settings. All of your tweets can be viewed by both followers and those who do not follow you. People can view tweets you composed dating back to the creation of your account unless you have it set to private. However, having your profile set on private will limit yourself from gaining followers and building up your face value on this social media outlet. These are a few of the pros and cons Twitter offers to its users.
Many artists, regardless of the type of art they produce, have had a lifetime of experience in this particular field. The ability to compose paintings of scenic views or detailed sketches come naturally to some people. As for me I had to find my creative side. Growing up I rarely found interest in participating in various types of art. I am considered to be the jock of my siblings. I played various sports as a kid throughout high school consisting of both baseball and football. Still to this day I have a very active lifestyle. It was not until my freshman year in college when I discovered my creative side. Owning a smartphone the social media app that has been trending for the past few years is none other than Instagram. I first started my account by posting pictures of what typical college students would post, pointless images of my crazy weekends. I began to feel as though people saw me a different way and I wanted to change the overall message my account delivered to my audience. I consider this a “selfie” phase in which I would pose in various locations and would title each image with a meaningful quotation or song lyric. Once again I started to feel that people thought I was conceited and this was not the message I wanted to deliver. Then, it finally hit me. One weekend in 2012 I decided to go to the Nob Hill summer fest here in town. Me and a few friends happened to stop at the store known as Urban Outfitters. I rarely went into this store since it is known to be pricey but has good taste in clothing brands. After looking through the overpriced clothes I started going through the book section. I stumbled upon a book titled “The Book of Rebellion”. As I skimmed through the pages I began to become extremely inspired and fascinated with the art styles being presented. It was so easy for me to relate to these images. The artist that stuck out to me the most was the infamous Banksy. His mural entitled “This Is Where I draw The Line,” hit me hard. It portrays the beauty of struggle. I then thought to myself “Hey, I can do something like this.” Since that day I took up the hobby of becoming a street artist. I have composed over 100 stencils, 30 custom canvas’ for local “fans,” and have used over 250 cans of spray paint. Even though we may not be aware of a talent we posses, there is always a moment in our lives in which it becomes exposed and helps aid you through your life trials.
Major brands on Facebook are slowly losing interest from their target audience. As a result users tend to “unlike” or remove the brand from their newsfeed or friend list. According to Advertising Age the top two reasons Facebook users stop following a brand is due to: “it no longer has interest to the consumer” and “the information available was not interesting”. Facebook users in the United States, United Kingdom and France are beginning to unfollow mainstream brands. Users from these areas are also less likely to share a brands status or page, comment on a status or participate in brand events. Some of this may be due to what is known as “brand fatigue,” in which a company produces too much or too little information to its audience. I for one have actually unfollowed a brand within the past week. One day I was just casually scrolling through my likes and stumbled across a brand I no longer consume. I just kept thinking to myself, “why and the world did I like this page?” I began to think I had suffered from brand fatigue and finally got fed up with these annoying posts. However, the main reason Facebook users are following less brands on social media is due to the lack of genuine interaction. In order to maintain and grow your Facebook audience a brand or company must interact constantly with its audience. Reading the same old statuses about new products and exclusive offers are starting to lose its edge in the eye of its audience. Personally, there are several approaches and changes I would take in order to increase my Facebook audience. One way this can be initiated is by scheduling times to update statuses and share information with your audience. Research what times throughout the day your target audience are online and prepared to interact. For example let’s say you own a major coffee brand and would like to increase the interaction of your followers. If I were in charge of the brands social media page I would upload images and statuses during early hours of the day, since the majority of coffee consumers are early risers. Another approach I would change in order to gain more followers is by administering competitions. Having small competitions and giveaways are a great way to maintain and build interaction with your target audience. This encourages current Facebook users to be more involved with the page. Rewarding a few winners for little effort and no fees will increase the amount of activity on the brands page. These are just a few ways I would attempt to grow my Facebook audience.
In this week’s class we opened the topic of storytelling and how crucial it is for an organization to be efficient when attempting to move and persuade its audience. In order to tell an effective story through any medium every aspect of the story must be given equal value. From this week’s articles and web videos I have learned the key element to storytelling. The key element is what you lead with in your introduction. This will define and set the tone of your story, and will determine the audience’s perceptions of the story as a whole. This also leads to the level of interest the audience has within your video or blog. For example, in this week’s class we were required to view a short video clip for a charity fund for water. However, this video was not what I had expected it to be. Instead of showing how scarce water resources are in foreign countries it started off showing a compassionate wish of a little girl Rachel. On her ninth birthday she had wished to raise three hundred dollars for charity: water in order for fifteen people to drink clean water. Tragically she was killed in a car accident. As a result people responded to her death by donating money to make her wishes come true. A month after her accident more than 1.2 million dollars was raised for the charity water foundation. This was an example of credibility and how this tragic story brought a personal touch to the story as a whole. The way in which this organization used video and efficient storytelling gave new light to this charity. Rather than posting Rachels story on a blog post or status update, the organization felt it would leave more of an impact through video. According to videographer Jamie Pent, “People are inspired by other people,” she says. “When you realize that somebody else is like you, that’s huge.” Capturing the storytelling process through video allows us to relate to those we are viewing on camera. This video also highlighted some of David Lavandas storytelling tips to produce persuasive messages. For example one tip David offers us is to start with a person and his or her conflict. The charity water video clip did just that by using Rachel as their example. This increased our interest in Rachel’s wish by adding how old she was, where she was from and who she made this wish to. As a result charity water produced a viral video that not only gave remembrance to a beautiful little girl, but how she solely changed the world through her actions. Elements like these are what organizations need to highlight when presenting stories through videos and webcasts.
On January 23, 2015 Albuquerque opened its doors to its very first graffiti bar and restaurant. Known as “The Grain Station”, this local bar and restaurant is the first of its kind to be established here in the Duke City. The Grain Station is located on 2000 Central Avenue across the street from the University of New Mexico (Main Campus) and next door to the LA Underground paint shop. This bar and restaurant has an exclusive menu that offers: brats, burgers, Philly cheesesteak, and German inspired currywurst, cakes, coffee and soups. The bar is fully loaded with various beers on tap from local brewing companies such as Santa Fe brewing Co, Tractor Brewing Co, and Marble Brewing Co. What makes this bar and restaurant so unique from any other food venue in town is its atmosphere. You will walk in and be impressed with its décor. It screams graffiti and street art. Its walls are decorated with large scale pieces composed from local artists here in town. Each table within the facility is handcrafted and composed of Plexiglas tops. Underneath these table tops are used graffiti spray paint cans and tips. Lining the tops of the walls, running from corner to corner are spray paint cans dating back to the 1980’s. The Grain Station also highlights hip-hop culture displaying old tape decks and boom boxes. Ultimately I love the atmosphere this local bar offers to its community. It has a tasteful environment and a great sense of identity. Even though I admire every aspect of the facility’s elements linking to graffiti my favorite feature is not the tables or spray cans. This may sound weird but it is the bathroom. Whenever I walk into a restaurant, pub or bar (particularly in the downtown/campus area) I go to the bathroom first to check out possible traces of graffiti. Usually you find slaps (stickers) in the majority of bathrooms accompanied with the usual throw ups of tags scribbled on the bathroom walls and stalls. This is where I find the inner beauty of The Grain Station. Stickers and tags cover every edge of the bathroom wall. By observing these local tags and stickers it allows me to admire fellow artists and gives me time to throw up a few of my own. Overall I rate The Grain Station a 5 out of 5 stars based on its unique menu and its creative environment. I hope to never see this local business close since it is highlighting and communicating knowledge to fellow New Mexicans the beauty of Street Art and Graffiti.
After reading and viewing this weeks web articles and videos they have both broadened my understanding of social media. Personally I enjoyed all of the readings and videos and it was hard to narrow it down to what side I favored. I really enjoyed hearing what Gary Vaynerchuk had to say about social media and how he has used it for his own success. I really enjoyed the advice Gary offered to young college students. Gary said our generation has a difficult time listening to details from our professors and elders while also trying to focus on the principles of these concepts being taught to us. I agree with what Gary said because he also argues that we are the most digitally enhanced generation up to date. This enables our generation to have more access to information resulting in more knowledgeable college students. For example my generation has access to the internet through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Having these devices gives us the ability to have this information accessible anytime and practically anywhere. I also firmly agree with Gary in that we need to pursue a career or profession that makes us happy regardless of what it pays. This is not the first time I have heard this statement. My parents constantly remind me that I need to have a career that makes me happy. It is not worth working a 9-5 job with great pay but at the end of the day leaves you stressed out and miserable. Money will not make you happy. In a general sense we think it is the answer to many things but it simply is not. Money can also get you into trouble and may cause relationship problems with friends and family. It is crucial to keep in mind that happiness is a key factor while being employed. The final point Gary made in this video I feel was the most important. He described what he looks for in a potential employee. Gary also highlighted the importance of the image we hold on our social media accounts. Many businesses and companies today will look into what social media accounts we have and what we post. Potential employers then determine if we are worthy of the job based on what we post. Our posts can either harm or benefit our face and how we represent the company we work for. However, Gary looks past “dumb” and “immature” posts and looks for the creativity we posses. He wants to see if we are active users on various social media sites which can impact the tools necessary for a social media profession.
Albuquerque is known for the beauty its natural environment brings the city’s population, whether its flourishing from the Sandia Mountains or the breathtaking sunsets. Growing up in Albuquerque I have found beauty within the city where most people tend not to look. It is everywhere. It covers the backs of stop signs and is scribbled upon curbs at your local bus stop. It covers the alleyways, ditches, and bridges that you pass on your daily route to work or school. It is slapped on street light poles and hard to reach places that leave you wondering, “How’d they get up there?”. The beauty I have fallen in love with is known as the city art of the common man: Street Art and Graffiti. At first glance these portraits and scribbles on the wall seem low and unclean. These images show the words and stories of the artist unknown who is never heard nor seen. Both Street Art and Graffiti have the reputation of being considered vandalism and in most cases it is. Ultimately, it depends on how the viewer judges what they see. Albuquerque’s Street Art and Graffiti community has grown in the past ten years and continues to rise. The artists and writers that reign from this city have unique style and motives for what they do. The main purpose of this blog is to keep my viewers updated on this growing type of art here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as my contribution to this form of art. I am also an aspiring Street Artist and I have been active in this type of art since April 2012. Street Art and Graffiti has allowed me to express myself and explore my creativity. It is an outlet to channel my stress, sorrows, anger, and happiness into something beautiful. I consider myself more of a street artist than a “tagger” or “writer.” I produce various pieces that are made through stencils, slaps(stickers) and wheat paste. The main motive of my art is to produce pieces people can relate to whether it be through heartbreak or looking for some images of hope. From this hobby of mine I have gained some credibility here in town and have been contacted to do several pieces for locals. Some of these pieces include designing stickers for local bands and various stencil prints on canvas. I will continue to update my journey as a Street Artist and how this form of art is steadily growing here in the Duke City.