Continuing a discussion from the commuting thread "Show us photos of your commute."
Someone had posted photos of a railroad car with graffitti on it; someone else called it urban artwork, I called it vandalism, and now a question to me:
"I do understand your anger towards vandalism, but professional artists will only paint property with the owner's permission. The same way a professional fighter would only fight someone in the ring, and not go around beating the snot out of random people in public.
I would like to hear you opinion of Seed Bombing, which is the planting flowers on property that is not yours by throwing a container of seeds there? Do you consider that "vandalism" or "defacing"? http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html
And now I answer:
I understand your distinction about a professional artist with permission vs. a vandal with no regard towards private ownership or similar boundaries. The rail car in question had identification numbers obscured, and I would highly doubt most railcar artwork is performed with the property owner's consent. There is a cost to the property owner to remove the unwanted "decoration" and repair the damage to the property. There are many examples of commissioned murals and artwork for neighborhood walls, businesses etc, and I have no issue with that.
As far as "seed-bombing" I see more gray areas surrounding that. In the strictest sense, if the land to be seed bombed does not belong to the bomber, then I would consider it wrong. On the surface seed bombing seems benign, but what if a "vacant" lot has buried water, sewer, gas and electrical lines that could be damaged by roots, which would cost money to rectify when that plot is ready to be put back into service as a productive property? In less urban areas, new and different flora may attract undesirable pests and feral animals. If the bomber actually intends to reap food for sustenance or profit this would be as illegal as running a business out of someone else's garage, or squatting on some one else's land.
The bottom line is I'm upset that you are making me sound and feel like an angry old man by forcing me to say "Get off my lawn!" But seriously, I grew up in a major metropolitan area, and I understand how being surrounded by nothing but private property when you yourself own none of it makes seemingly abandoned property seem like fair game. What I DON'T understand is how people who decry the unilateral appropriation of native lands and property by European colonialists can delight in the "liberation" and "appropriation" of privately and legally held land and property by individuals and groups with a similar lack of regard for the concept of ownership.