Steve Powers

StevePowers (3)

Can graffiti be a performance?! The only reason I chose to include Steve Powers’ work was to challenge peoples views on whether graphics on a wall would be a performance.

Its the reaction people have to the graffiti which is the performance I’m most interested in, how some graphics can provoke different reactions from all different people. The first Powers image I used is a simple play on words, or a commonly used phrase ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’, and by using wordplay he provokes the viewer into deciphering this as if its a code.

StevePowersStevePowers (2)

I completely understand that some graffiti is crude and pretty generic, but Powers uses quirky images and quotes which provide a puzzle for the mind, ‘Knocked on your door, Legs tired back sore, Migraine for sure, No more I swore you smiled I’m cured’ Its just a poem, but it provokes a feeling for the spectator, which is basically what a performance is.

StevePowers (4)StevePowers (5)


  • Historical, Economic, Political, Technological, Social? – Political – graffiti is usually used to mark peoples territory, but in this instance its being used to show a few quick quotes, nothing offensive its more quirky

  • Did the activities reflect the culture of the time? – Some of the graffiti created is related to pop culture and current events, so I would say it reflects Powers’ opinions.

  • Positive or Negative attention? – Positive and Negative, because it draws attentions to certain subjects, providing an outlet for publicity, but on the other hand it can promote other street graffiti which can be classed as illegal damage. People see graffiti as untidy or negative, but sometimes people love it, Banksy is a popular example.

  • Spectating vs. Participating? – Spectating.

  • Is performance there to keep people occupied or happy? – The performance is the feeling/reaction the viewer has, whether its getting angry or just laughing.

  • How does it relate to my project work? – Graffiti can be predictable, name tags and slang words are boring, but Preston already has the Ship Inn graffiti wall which changes on a regular basis. Maybe a map of Preston to provoke people to see the ever changing wall and urban sights dotted around the city.


– Nguyen, P (2010) Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art. Gestalten.


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