Unlike skateboarding, rapping or video games, graffiti is, and will always be, inherently illegal. Because graffiti is so destructive by nature, it will never be fully accepted into mainstream society. It will always be shunned and because of this there will always been an underground world that the mainstream will not understand. That’s the best part: We have our own code, our own world, and as much as the street artists and Nike commercials want to get in, they will forever be left kicking rocks.
Writer/director Andrew H. Shirley’s new short film, Wastedland 2, depicts that underground world in a graphic, cartoon-like form. In the film, Shirley represents writers through their word with masks - rendering them real and tangible - and places them in the context of a narrative.
Wastedland 2’s success is not only in it’s concept but also in it’s beauty. While the film is influenced by the work of UFO (and features some incredible pieces by him), it is wholly original and weird in a genuinely graffiti aesthetic. It does not come across as the product of a mainstream company trying to interpret graffiti but, rather, as one made by graffiti writers for graffiti writers.
Wastedland 2 is visually stunning and conceptually brilliant. It feels like a take on graffiti culture that’s funny, weird and very unique.
“The film deals with existential dilemmas of 30 year old graffiti writers. Conflicts with ideas of identity, of fate, and of how one fits into the world. Letting the actors improvise and do freeform association with our locations created more of autobiographical feel. These are my friends, these are graffiti writers that are in reality dealing with these existential shifts and dilemmas and at the same time they are these mystical creatures in a fictional setting. I think anyone who is an artist is presented with a conundrum, anyone who thinks about existence long enough is going to be really confused about it.”