ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Drake is a single father who owns a bodega near by his home. He has an 18 year-old daughter, Nikki, who considers herself to be an artist – a street artist to be more specific. Although Nikki spends hours drawing, painting and sketching in her room, she also goes out late at night with a group of friends to perform street art. Drake already sees art as just a hobby rather than something that can be turned into a good career, nevertheless does he condemn street art and finds it to be “dirty” and a problem for the city. Although Drake is aware that his daughter loves art, he is not aware that she performs street art; he just thinks that she does murals in schools, and paints for fun and because it is her passion.
On a Friday night, Nikki gets into a huge argument with her father over her boyfriend (which her father disapproves of). After the argument, Nikki decided she wanted to rebel so she went to her fathers store and painted one of her signature design.
It is Saturday morning and Drake and Nikki arrive at the bodega.
D Son of a B*!
Nikki comes running outside
N What happened?
D Someone drew all this crap on my wall
N What crap?
D All this graffiti.
I don’t understand!
Don’t these kids have anything better to do?!
N Dad its just art.
A different kind of art
You call this art?!
All these people are doing is destroying the city by writing on all the walls.
N No dad, these are just artists.
D Oh yeah!
These gangbangers just don’t appreciate our community.
They can’t stand to see something that looks nice.
They just have to make sure they touch everything with their graffiti
N Oh my God!
Dad all they are trying to say is that they exist,
They just want some attention and this is the only way they can get it.
These artists just want to be seen and heard, but they are always being ignored.
And plus, this isn’t graffiti, this is just a picture/painting … like a mural
D You have to be joking! That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life.
These people are good for nothing!
All they are doing is destroying property
Nikki paints over the picture.
After Nikki already painted over her own drawing, someone else from the neighborhood tagged it again. Nikki did not know about this until the next morning.
It is Sunday morning.
D You have to be kidding me!
D They came back!
D The people from yesterday, they came back!
N You really don’t see the art behind it?
D Here we go again with the art!
This is NOT art!
N I mean, not in the traditional way people think of art
D In any type of way!
Drakes voice becomes louder
This is vandalism!
If you painted on my wall without my permission it is a crime!
N Dad, these are people who become invisible
They are expressing themselves the only way they know how!
They are communicating in the only language they feel comfortable in
Nikki’s voice sounds panicky and gets louder
They are taking a spray can and paint yelling at the world:
“HERE I AM! THIS IS ME! SEE ME! LISTEN TO ME!”
Of course, Nikki stays distraught. Her being an artist, a street artist at that, listening to her father shutting and criminalizing her passion leaves her in disbelief.
As I was thinking about what type of community I wanted to write about, I was originally going to pick the deaf community since it was so relevant. After having a long conversation with my younger sister about some art projects she had to do, I realized I could not really help her since I am not an artsy person. As I kept explaining to her how confused trying to understand how can someone grade someone else’s’ art. She told me she wasn’t even sure herself, then she made this enormous connection between people “grading” or giving more value to famous Italian and French artists but far more less value to those who do street art. Then I thought about the mural tour we did, and how the program silenced street artists.