NEW YORK, Aug. 29 , 1997 - Bob Bryan, Multi-Award winning independent film maker (Graffiti Verite', the documentary on the Graffiti Art Movement) from Los Angeles singlehandedly organized and curated the First Annual International Graffiti Art Competition (located at The Museum of Art Downtown, Los Angeles) this summer, says whether squiggles and names decorating buildings is art "is in the eye of the beholder. I believe a lot of the people who already are collecting it, see it as art," he said.
Interviewed live on CNNfn's show, "Biz Buzz" (Financial News) from Los Angeles, Bryan addressed the question of whether there is a market for this particular art form, since it is public and very different from most other art. "Can someone, if they think that this is really wonderful, they like it, or indeed they believe that it has a future in terms of appreciation, can they buy it?" asked correspondent Donald Van De Mark. "Can they get an artist to perform for them on a canvas or something like that?
"Well, it's public when you see it on a public domain like a wall," Bryan said. "But graffiti art is also expressed on canvas. It's on sculpture and on multi media installations, which is what the competition tried to express. It's not just on walls."
To buy graffiti art, would-be purchasers could go to the ICU (In Creative Unity) Gallery in Los Angeles and buy canvas art or they could commission graffiti artists to do pieces for them. "It's just like any other artist working in any other medium," Bryan said.
The price could be as much as $10,000 per canvas - which is what the artist Charles "Chaz" Bojorquez (winner of the Best of Competition-1st Place Award) has received for some of his work. Bojorquez' work also has been displayed and purchased by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
The price for graffiti art varies, depending on whether it is a canvas or a piece of sculpture.
An indication that graffiti art is being widely accepted was seen in the international competition where curators of various museums came to take part as judges, Bryan said. "There are a ton of agents who are currently representing these graffiti artists."
Bryan said he discovered when he researched and produced his documentary Graffiti Verite' on graffiti art that "the market for it is huge." People have found out that they are very much interested in graffiti art, if it goes beyond the stereotype."
He said he considers it his mission to educate people. "And certainly I can tell by the explosive sales of Graffiti Verite' (the documentary) that there is an audience out there that's very, very interested. But there's a bigger audience too!."