This year at Artomatic I left a guest book for visitors to sign. I never anticipated the range of comments the DC Tags images would inspire. Of course, it was great to hear from friends, neighbors, coworkers, family connections, and fellow artists and art fans. Many left encouraging words. Some left their own artful tags in the book. Others commented on what the images made them think of — the freedoms we enjoy in this country and the challenges some citizens face in having their voices heard. And a few visitors were disturbed by what they saw, objecting to the sight of national monuments covered in graffiti, even when it is imaginary.
“Sorry man, but if I saw that in actuality … I would f***in’ kill the guy that did it,” signed “Craig, Art Lover, Democrat, Respector of History.”
“In my opinion … this is only encouraging those to deface what is already art, created by human hands with love, strength and power. There is a place for grafffiti and tags, but not on the face of America.”
We’re fortunate that our monuments are well-preserved and protected. But one of the purposes of art, of course, is to challenge us to think, often through representing something familiar in a different way. I hope these images achieved that.