st-stephens-15The human compulsion to draw on walls is as old as humanity itself; think of all those masterly cave paintings in the Dordogne. And I gather the Greeks and Romans were rather fond of doodling all over the place too. These days, you can hardly turn a corner without seeing someone’s tag scrawled over some surface or other. So, is graffiti a vibrant urban art form or senseless vandalism? The jury’s out on that one. Personally, I dislike much of it because, like any other form of advertising, most of it is rubbish. Back in the day, I didn’t find the ugly scribbles defacing much of the Alto Bairro district of Lisbon or Damm Square in Amsterdam particularly colourful, cutting edge or inspirational. And I wasn’t such an old fart then.

What of Norwich? Well, we have our fair share of street artists/delinquents (delete according to taste) thinking they’re the next Banksy. The grim Sixties’ underpass close to the micro-loft provides a blank canvas for anyone wanting to express themselves in spray paint. But this year, Life in a Fine City had the bright idea of inviting local artists young and old to cover the walls in original work. I must say, it makes a damp, smelly and soulless space a little more bearable to pass through and, out of respect, the taggers have left the art (mostly) untouched. There is honour among artists, methinks.

A few that caught my eye…