[With R&B singer Chris Brown catching heat over his LA crib’s spray-painted goblins, renowned graffiti artist Alan Ket, well-known by NYPD, gives SOHH readers his take on the situation.]
I think the Chris Brown graffiti thing is ridiculous for a couple reasons.
It’s ridiculous that he’s being harassed because it’s his own property. He should be able to do what he wants because it’s his own property. I guess different towns have their own regulations but I just think it’s ridiculous from that perspective, from a legal perspective.
From an aesthetic perspective, what he’s doing is not so good. It doesn’t have high, artistic merit, so to speak, or exhibit great, technical skill or great artistic ability. It’s pretty mediocre but that’s just how I see it.
I don’t think this has anything to do with [the graffiti culture] at all. It’s just a guy who is a backpainter who painted in front of his house with some wacky cartoons. It has nothing to do with graffiti culture, it has nothing to do with tagging or any of the movement or even the ideas that come to mind when you think of graffiti. You don’t necessary think of bad cartoons.
Fat Joe used to actually tag. He was really a part of the scene. He grew up in the streets of New York City. He’s a real writer and he’s legit. I think everybody has a right to express themselves artistically, I just don’t think it’s cool to be lumped into part of a movement when you’re not part of it and when you don’t know anything about it and when you haven’t really contributed anything to it. You haven’t paid any dues.
When I first met Chris Brown a few years ago, he was just a fan. He’s just a fan of graffiti. He has KAWS tattooed on his body. He doesn’t know KAWS, he’s just a fan. When I asked him if he wanted to come tag with me with some spray cans because we were working on a set together, he didn’t know how to use a spray can yet. He’s a fan. He’s an enthusiastic guy who is into it but I don’t think he can perpetrate at all because then you would be doing just that, perpetrating.
Alan Ket aka Ket One is a New York-based writer who began writing in 1986 in Brooklyn. He is also a book author, graffiti artist and historian, advocate for writing culture, and an all around hustler. He is a member of the RIS, AOK, COD, TFP, TDS, DTK, XTC and WMD crews.