Are You Serious?

02/05/2010 § 12 Comments

in this new york daily news article, they document the story of Alexa Gonzalez, a 12 YEAR OLD GIRL who was handcuffed and arrested for drawing on her desk. SERIOUSLY? she is serving 8 hours community service, suspended from school, and has to write an essay on what she learned from it all.

She is repentant, but hasn’t done anything wrong. Her essay should include something like “creativity is not a crime”. I was so offended by reading about this. Obviously, most people are, as 60 something percent of people polled thought the correct punishment was have the kid wash it off and thats it. This might be an isolated incident, but people’s disgust shouldn’t be limited to it.

This youtube video has gotten pretty popular, but if you haven’t seen it, go ahead and watch.

this kid got 8 YEARS in prison for graffiti. when he gets out, he’ll be an adult, but will have learned nothing about the adult world having been stuck in a cell with hard criminals for almost a third of his life. (I’ve heard his sentence was reduced to 2 years and probation/comm service, but still absurd.)

Art isn’t contained to galleries and museums. I would venture to say I’ve seen better art on apartment walls, street signs, and back alleys than in most of the museums I’ve been in.


(matt w moore, courtesy of the wooster collective)

(aakash courtsey of streetsy)

I encourage you to draw on your desk. Go home and draw in your notebook. Draw on a canvas, Draw on abandoned buildings, Draw on the sidewalk, anywhere. If you think you aren’t good at drawing, do it anyways. If you take pictures there are one or two ways of displaying them…
Everyone has something worth saying or showing, so do it. Just don’t get caught by people that want to suppress your imagination, or you could be taken out of your elementary school in handcuffs.

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§ 12 Responses to Are You Serious?

  • Tom says:

    That’s insane, I can’t believe people overreacted like that. I used to do graffiti and I was inspired by other artists because a lot of graffiti is amazing and the artists should be commended. If you wanna see really amazing work look up the artist Banksy. He’s insane.

  • Matt says:

    This is ridiculous

    I did the exact same thing when i was about in 6th grade, i drew a tree with a swing next to an old cabin. The teacher asked me to come in after i ate my lunch and wash it off, end of story. That is as far as her story should of gone to in this incident

  • Chris says:

    This is disgusting. The justice system hasn’t been handing out justice for quite some time now and instead victimizes innocent civilians who put their trust into the system. The system fails and objectivity is becoming increasingly apparent in the courtrooms where minor incidents should be handled with a case by case attitude.

  • Randy C says:

    I agree creativity is not a crime. However destruction of property is. The situation should not have been dealt with so harshly, but kids these days need to learn a lesson in respect.

  • Chelsea says:

    the best part? she apparently used a lime green erasable marker. the teacher simply could have wiped it away, or asked her to wipe it away, but called the police instead? insane.

  • Travis says:

    Its like Hank Rollins said many years ago. Spray paint the walls.

  • Jordan says:

    The last 6 years of my free life seem like an eternity. 6 years of growing up, of making mistakes, of falling in love, of discovering who I am as a person, etc. It seems like all I’ve ever known. And I’ve done things in those 6 years that are far and away more reprehensible than spray painting on a wall or smoking pot with friends but I’m here, commenting on this blog, lounging, and wondering what relatively insignificant tasks I have to accomplish tomorrow while this kid is staring down 8 years of solitude for pushing the trigger on a can of paint. I am trying hard to retain what little faith in this world I still have but it’s hard. Glad this was posted.

  • Mike Greene says:

    Graffiti writers are, in my opinion, some of the purest visual artists that we have left. Much the same as I feel that any other “urban” artist (poets, b-boys, etc…) will give you the kind of art that you won’t ever find anywhere else.
    Being from Grand Rapids, and I can only assume that the band knows what I mean, those “urban” artists are the artists that I’ve grown to love and respect, and to realize the people can spend the better part of decade in jail for personal expression is just shocking. Or even that a young adolescent can find herself in HANDCUFFS for doodling in class. I hate being cliche’, but is Big Brother watching?

    I won’t stop writing, and if I need to stand on the street yelling poetry above the traffic, I will. Whether you call that dedication or disturbing the peace is up to you.

  • Brendan says:

    Wow, this was so moving I’m in tears.
    I used to do graf, but was never very good, now I’m about enter graduate school. If I had ever been caught like that kid my life as it is now would have been ruined.
    Seeing graffiti brightens my day, brings colour to my life.
    Why must we suppress creativity?
    With all of the modern urbanization and franchising all cities are beginning to look the same. Sometimes its little more than the graffiti that differentiates city from city anymore.

  • Clarence B. says:

    I, myself, am a graffiti writer in the northern Mississippi area. I don’t limit myself to just the street art style, and I’m not a vandal, I’m an artist. Graffiti is really rare here and it’s hard for me to push the scene without being harshly punished like the stories posted here and such. Memphis, TN has a huge art scene and the graffiti there is amazing. It’s hard to get commissioned or to get permission to paint on walls around town here. Most of the older folk and middle age working class close their minds to this type of artwork and it’s sad. I was arrested last year for painting under a bridge which is completely hidden by people of the area and is also covered with dirty gossip and absurd text. I painted a simple piece, and a cop suddenly stopped me when I was returning to a friends car, and put cuffs on me and did not read me my Miranda rights either. I was on probation for just 6 months but the thought of the painting still being there and me getting in trouble for it and them not cleaning it either makes me sick. The officers were very ignorant and rude. Neither of the officers writing my report could not even spell the word “graffiti”. I do admit that it was my fault for getting caught, but the city should be more loose on the subject. I recall reading a quote from Banksy, explaining that if graffiti was legal, everyday the world would be different and colorful, and each walk to the park, or walk to work, drive to school, etc etc. would be a new day of sights to see and artwork to admire. What is worse, is businesses using graffiti to promote their merchandise and such, but they’re not being charged for influencing it are they? Blah, this is stupid.

  • Trent says:

    Sadly, our society likes art to be a completely separate thing from reality, which, for good art, has just never been possible.
    On another note, if you haven’t read Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience,’ you should do so. “Law never made man a whit more just.”

  • Nizzemanden says:

    Aw man, this shit sucks!

    I used to be a graffiti painter as well, never really got caught, when i was in my prime time.
    I’ve got caught painting on my desk once though, my punishment was to clean it off away from the others (alone) with a bottle of pure ethanol (no toxics) – haha, i ended up getting drunk on that mixed with champagne. silly me.

    … now i do pretty (and/or not-that-pretty) stickers and slam them up everywhere, and i encourage everyone to take their creativity or lack thereof to the streets, so we can have a more enjoyable experience of urban life.

    take care folks.

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