As is evident from the numerous images of spray cans, marker pens and paint rollers that can be found on the streets, you cannot but conclude that graffiti and street artists are very keen to call attention to the material that enables them to display their artistic skills. Art about making art, or in other words; meta art.
This is a centuries-old practice. Classic workshop scenes show a bustling place where apprentices learn to become oil painters and accommodate their master by making powder paint or preparing panels. Once they had mastered the profession, there was no better way of showing it than by making a self-portrait which naturally included a palette, brushes and an easel. The artist and his materials captured in a single picture.
Contrary to what is commonplace in painting, (realistic) self-portraits in street art are a rarity. After all, a lot of street artists attach great importance to staying anonymous. That isn’t to say, however, that as a result we have to make do with a boring old piece of tin. If the spray can isn’t depicted as a cheerful little fellow himself, the object is simply placed in the hands of ‘someone’ with a mouth-cap or a hood, or entrusted to E.T., Yoda, Braveheart, Jesus or Rembrandt. Or, for that matter, the Scandalist, a bloke who looks like a gangster who is armed. And so he is, albeit not with a gun but with two spray cans, a red one and a blue one. And that’s only for the better. Ultimately, every sensible person will likely approve of the slogan ‘make art, not war’. I spray for you!