According to Lush… Why graffiti writers hate street artists


UPDATE: For those who may be unfamiliar, the term “art fag” is commonly used by graffiti writers to insult street artists, like here for example. The use of the term in this post caused some controversy on Twitter, but I think that you have to look at its use in the context of this comic. Lush is not advocating use of the term or not. He is merely documenting something that happens (something that I personally think is shameful). – RJ

A note from the editor: This week we have the first in a 10-part series of weekly comics by Lush. What do you think? Did Lush miss anything? Is it true? – RJ

Comic by Lush

  • Peter Drew

    Sometimes hatred is justified. Street artists occasionally fail to recognise street art’s debt graffiti and even buy into the establishment mentality that street art is the cure to the ‘problem’ of graffiti.

  • Jack Felon

    Lush knows the score!

  • man child

    Bet your ass this is true. Another one nailed by LUSH

  • Doug

    There needs to be a second wave of street artists that get it more right then the first wave, almost like a hybird of the good parts of both sides of the coin writer and artist.

  • Lupus

    and every writer wants to get beef with street artists, you cover them up and then they start whinning and complaining like little bitches….

  • bencho matic

    Egos in any subculture can clash,
    like “urbex” folks getting pissed about storm sewers and abandoned stuff getting painted,
    Foamers and tramps getting pissed about train graffiti enthusiasts getting up at the spot
    Poachers sending warning shots at rural painting spots
    Gangsters sending warning shots at urban painting spots
    Wannabe cops and heroes taking offence to writers in general

    whatever anyone does for cheap thrills, it means they’re pissing in someone else’s Cheerio’s.


    @peterdrew dont make contradictory statements. you do wheat pastes in glasgow centre. ive seen your shit. you are the street artist who fails to recognize the debt you owe to graffiti, and you do buy into the establishment, because you can just snap your fingers and make that wheat paste into a canvas just like you did when you got caught for being a dumb ass. you wouldn’t have got kicked out of school if you were doing art for the right reasons. stop trying so hard and just do your own art.

  • Sorry for the delay in your comment going online. All comments are moderated. Often take a few hours for me to get a computer and approve them. Also, normally I don’t publish comments with such strong language, but for this point I’m making an exception.

  • Rhiannon Platt

    You have to give props to Lush for not being afraid to tell it like it is. I can’t say how many times I’ve eyerolled as someone puts a repetitive poster over one of my favorite tags. But, making sweeping statements about street art and graffiti as monoliths is problematic. Yes, street artists sell out to the galleries, but they aren’t the only ones exhibiting in galleries. Look at Klughaus, they built an epic gallery on just showing graffiti artwork. Also, charging street artists and not graffiti writers with this pack mentality is so ridiculous. Graffiti is built on the pack mentality of going harder than one another and all operating on this group of unspoken rules.

    All that being said, I look forward to seeing what Lush posts in the coming weeks. Love or hate his work, I am glad to see it generating discussion!

  • scrababble

    I don’t know that there’s such a huge divide between writers and street artists, I think there are loads of artists who are in between. I agree with Doug’s comment about a second wave of artists who straddle the divide. Lush totally does this, he benefits from the establishment and art institutions whilst harnessing a street attitude and fitting in with the rules of graff.

  • Peter Drew

    SHAME 2XF. I Recognise street art’s debt to graffiti but that doesn’t mean I need to listen to your bad advice. We all buy into one establishment or another and the graffiti world is just another establishment. I didn’t get kicked out, I graduated last week and I like woking hard, especially when it irritates those who don’t. Just relax and have a think about those sheep.

  • Caroline Caldwell

    Well put, Rhiannon. I was about to comment on the sweeping statements, myself. But you took the words out of my mouth.

  • xxx

    these guys ( ) just showed up at a prestigious Berlin art fair (during Berlin Art Week), through a connect of a gallerist there that was exhibiting “not-for-sale” Banksy’s (which I proved to be forgeries) and were “filming their reality tv show for ABC about “their world wide street art journey.” When I introduced myself to them, their reply was, literally, “we are art royalty.” I fucking kid you not. Please look at these guys’ (“Street Art Portfolio” : ) and realize that this is what the idea of street art is doing: it is creating monsters like this, for real.

  • Yeok

    Doesn’t matter what you do, if you start abusing people, your opinion will be discounted. I was threaten once on instagram by a graffiti writer: “If you were a guy I would slap you upside the head to teach you respect”, sorry man, if you want to slap me you already lost my respect.

  • Yeok

    It’s still a myth why graffiti writers are all so angry, all the time … cookies and tea anyone?

  • L-Roy Royston Patrick

    I think that the Grafitti writers think that they are from the punk , when the and street-artists more from the New-Wave. The Grafitti artists are hated by everybody ( I know a great one in my town, as a French Tox on the trains ) even by the intellectual coz they ( the intellectuals from the left ) that they are just vandals whom pollute the walls and the towns , as vermins. These same intellectuals consider that the street-art is beautiful and is made by nice guys, ” bobos” from the arts schools. Streret-artists does not take risk and make the artwork quicker, even the cops do not arrest them. To finish, the street-artists are eaters of prints – and they make a lot of money, followed by art’s collectors and great – or not – galerists
    The street-artists hate old school grafittis and paint. I understand grafitti writers, They are despised and misunderstood. They are not considered artists. They are for me the only revolutionary guys (too many street artists boast and are too pretentious, only creating ” pretty geishas ” on the walls, pasting them into sometimes – sic. They try also to make paints next to reality for the people walking or the media say ” ah” or ” oh ” looking at their creation, maybe they think they are the new Van-Gogh , lol ), and really put the brothel. They create for the media, the galerists, and to be famous. Grafittis writers are black men who played soul in the Bronx while white played jazz in the cellars of St-germain des Prés, Paris, with a glass of champagne in the hand. Street-artists have reneged on the origin of the walls. The are too much on Facebook while graffitis writers are in the streets and write on the walls ! Love and hate.

  • L-Roy Royston Patrick

    I know that this comment could be manichaean, simplistic and too schematic, but the question was it also, as simply. And then, it is in the image of architecture of a street, the street, where each side there are walls: one for the grafittis and another one in front , for the street-art: Never stay in the Middle, the road is for cops cars, buses and trucks: yes, mostly never stay in the Middle! too dangerous and without interest.

    ( In fact, I do not take position, I see and I know this “war” between graffiti and street-artists in my town. very down-to-Earth, I should say very walls to walls, lol )

  • Guest

    some evil tongues say that they do this for the celebrity for a day ( I find a bit of punk nevertheless in this definition, I would say) and that they sign the walls like dogs who piss on the walls or cats that mark their territory: for my part, I do not know, I’m not a veterinarian, nor a wall psychiatrist.. 😉

  • L-Roy Royston Patrick

    ps : some evil tongues say that Grafittis writers do this for the
    celebrity for a day ( I find a bit of punk nevertheless in this
    definition, I would say) and that they sign the walls like dogs who
    piss on the walls or cats that mark their territory: for my part, I do
    not know, I’m not a veterinarian, nor a wall psychiatrist.. 😉

  • Caroline Caldwell

    Herein lies my biggest issue with this comic: I think it perpetuates a divide more than comments on one. I mean Lush even says it, these “rules” are self imposed. I see Lush as someone who is straddling that divide of street art and graffiti. I agree with you – he benefits from both sides of the supposed street art/graffiti divide.

    I’m not excited about Lush’s comics on Vandalog. I feel like he’ll say whatever will get a rise out of people because it’s the easiest route to attention. In the same way that I will never care about what Lady Gaga is wearing, I think Lush’s work is lazy shock-value material. Maybe Lady Gaga is an imperfect example since there seems to at least be a narrative behind that. What I do like is that when 1 out of 10 responses aren’t about boobies, that 1 comment will be interesting or insightful.

  • pgroot

    Actually I believe Lush is charging graffiti artists with the pack mentality. His work is good because he’s unafraid to tell it like it is – even to other writers. Lush is the biggest critic of graff culture I know. I think the gallery thing is more of how it is done. The people who get gallery shows in graffiti are often people who have been putting in work and paying their dues for years without attempting to get in a gallery – and nobody respects you if you are up in the gallery but not in the street (or have a history of being up in the street). There are exceptions but I’ve never seen a graffiti artist get into a legit gallery with less than 3 years of painting under their belt.

    My biggest thing against many street artists is the idea that street art has a different legal/moral status than graffiti – it’s all our own egos saying it’s okay to put our stuff on other people’s stuff. Also whining when they get buffed or taken down or covered – if you wanted your stuff to stay pristine put it in a gallery.

  • man child

    Street art will never have the respect and credibility graff writers have.

    Street artists are the rollerbladers and scooter riders of the skate park.

  • man child

    I went and took a look and I haven’t felt like punching my laptop like that in a long while

  • zola

    funny how I thought personnal fame was the no1 objective of graffiti culture… There are narcissist assholes in both graff and street art. get over it.

    I agree that most street artist dont follow graff rules, but that’s simply because theyre not writers, why would they, the rules were made for graffiti not wheatpasting.

    The best argument I see is the police profiling. But graffiti’s rep has nothing to do with street artists. Yeah it may be unfair that white boy from art school can get away with a stencil but thats the effing system’s problem! And not all street artists work with this ”establishment”, some are political. I dare even say more street artists are political than writers.

  • josephofarimathea

    Writers hate street art because its rubbish designed to please the masses.

    want quick fix art they can imediatley understand, they want their art
    reduced to a photo on the internet. This art has to stand up as an image
    amongst many on the screen. It has to shout. And what gets shouted?
    cats and unicorns, naive political comment, teenage themes of rebelion
    anything so long as its inoffensive and easily understood. Street art is
    nothing more than an explosion of amateur muralists catering to
    people’s bad taste.

    They hate street art because it has an
    audience of culturaly baron robots beliving they are somehow “kicking
    against the system” by taking a photo of a badly painted permission
    mural on their Iphone.

  • Babby Hitler


  • Babby Hitler

    what he said