Should Graffiti be Legal?


Elaine Vilela Gomez, Morro da Providência favela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2008 by JR Pasted Photos

Spray paint art doesn’t just grab my attention on artwork that can be held in your hands. Walls make great canvasses too. Street art and murals have been gaining a lot of ground lately.

Some aren’t even done with spray paint . . . some are done by pasting photos like in the above street art from the series, Women Are Heroes by JR.

Recently on the summer olympics in Brazil, we got to see a little bit of Rio de Janeiro’s street art . . . where graffiti is legal.



Philadelphia is another town known for their street art. When we give artists an opportunity to express their creativity, we see that they make towns come to life with colorful and free and educational art for everyone. Instead of creating an opportunity for punishment. 




Don’t forget about the controversial British artist Banksy on the streets of England. If graffiti was legal, would Banksy’s artwork make the same impact?

Well, I could go on and on forever about graffiti, murals, and street art . . . But for now, I want to share a little guy I found in my town.

For many years, I’ve noticed this smoking bomb hanging out on an old gas station on Hwy 259. It looks like it was painted using Banksy’s preferred technique of stenciling.  



Smoking Bomb on Hwy 259


Recently, I was exploring my town with some friends when I found another smoking bomb.


Smoking Bomb Tower

He was hiding inside this tall brick tower at the edge of a sports field that I drive by almost everyday. Talk about hidden in plain view.

I’ve found 2 of these little smoking bombs so far. I wonder how many more are out there. And who is the artist?


Smoking Bomb inside Tower

I guess the smoking bomb is considered illegal graffiti and most people probably think it looks ugly. But, I think it adds character to my town. Some of these paintings have been up for years. And some are temporary. Some I’ve grown so used to seeing that I don’t see them anymore. 

Do you have any eye grabbing artwork on the walls of your town? Has your town legalized graffiti and street art? Get out there and capture some great art before it’s gone forever. And if YOU’RE a street artist, I’d love to see your stuff. 

Shark Conspiracy


One of my favorite spray paintings. Gets the imagination going.

I really like making abstract paintings with spray paint techniques. I like being heavy handed with my paint and taking basically trash, and randomly moving it around on the paint to get interesting and unexpected shapes. Works great for complex galaxies.

Scanned Image 4.jpg

Shark Conspiracy

When I use this technique I always think of Europe after the Rain, by Max Ernst. He used a technique called Decalcomania. The process is not exactly the same but it’s similar.

For Shark Conspiracy, I used an old painting that I didn’t like, and put it on top of the wet paint and moved it around then pulled it off.  I added some planets, stars, light effects, and finished the black space on the edges.

Kid’s like glopping on lots of paint and moving it around, so this is a fun and easy one to do with them. And they can just be free to squeeze that trigger.

  • Of course, remember to always use spray paint in a well ventilated area and wear a mask.

Aahhhh . . . It’s Friday . . . and I’m ready to start the weekend. Next week I’ll share another type of spray paint art.



My First Spray Painted Jellyfish

My spray paint art teacher says that jellyfish are a really cool and easy subject for spray painting. This is my first jellyfish. I made a lot of mistakes but it was a lot of fun to paint. I love the textures that my materials make. Lot’s of bumps and cracks are perfect for nature and animals.



A good thing to remember is to always keep your palette knife clean! Otherwise old paint will dry and cake up your smooth edge which results in un-wanted textures. That’s why the jellyfish’s tentacles aren’t smooth and believable looking.

Maybe I’ll paint another jellyfish soon, or some other underwater scenes. We’ll see what inspiration brings.

Making Spray Paint Trees

I have a couple of boxes filled with almost empty cans of spray paint and I’d like to re-stock, so I’m doing some paintings that don’t require perfect caps or large amounts of paint.

Below is a magical tree where some fairies or some other illuminated creatures might live. I had Picasso’s Blue Period on the mind hoping that would provide a little inspiration. I wanted to achieve a sense of movement in the background so that the scene felt busy and active.

magic tree.jpg

Magical Tree

I wasn’t sure what effect the blue would give . . . would it be sad? Or would it be calm? I guess maybe it gives off a cold effect. I decided the next tree should have a little green added to create a more eerie feeling.

The tree below was inspired by one of the trees in my yard that was right in front of my face while I was painting. It’s just an old tree with big roots.


Blue Tree

It turned out ok. The background could have a more interesting texture. I think I’m getting more comfortable making trees. I still have lots of cans to use up before I let myself buy new cans . . . so, back to the drawing board.

Playing with Spray Paint


I’ve been having a lot of fun learning how to make artwork using spray paint. In this painting, my focus was on making castles with my spatula knife and getting an interesting color effect in the mountains.

Mystery Land 1

I’m happy with the yellow and pink mountains . . . and the castles are on their way to being majestic. I still have a long journey ahead of me.

Mastering spray paint techniques is currently at the top of my art to do list, so I’ll be sharing my progress here.