When Justin Bieber left his mark on the wall of QT Gold Coast it made headlines across the world. At the time, we posted a link to the story and made our opinions known on Facebook, which, is the standard thing to do. And then, we saw the video Mr Tom Tate made about his thoughts and opinions regarding the artwork in question. At The Sauce Studio, we’re not happy with Mr Tate’s approach to this issue, and, we believe, sometimes, you have to put your money where your mouth is.
Firstly, I want to point out that Justin Bieber’s art, (Both music and aerosol) is not to my taste. We are not advocating in his behalf, nor do we appreciate his abilities, but as Voltaire says “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” While Justin’s actions may be immature, he still has every right to express himself. I know I did plenty of dumb things when I was younger, so who am I to judge?
Secondly, the coverage of this story is what I think is a part of the bigger picture issue. Aerosol art, graffiti and the sub-culture of Hip Hop are all things which can be enjoyed and created in a safe and legal manner. In this instance, Justin sought permission to create his artworks, and therefore it is not vandalism. Mr Tate’s actions of sending a graffiti removal kit to the hotel are just down right rude and ignorant. These types of attention grabbing tactics vilify and demean the cultural structures of Hip Hop and Graffiti Art. If Mr Tate is unable to tell the difference, or act in a manner which is respectful to artistic expression, I question his ability to be a fair and thoughtful Mayor.
I am also disappointed by Mr Tate’s response to Justin’s artwork, as I don’t believe these types of actions are conducive for creating a vibrant and culturally sustainable future. This year, the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct was unveiled and Mr. Tate has also made a video about this. The precinct will include an art gallery, production studios and showrooms for arts and creative industries, and a New Arts Museum and Living Arts Centre. All of these things sound great, but if the Mayor is unable to respect artwork in this instance, I doubt very much he has the ability showcase the city’s culture and creativity to the world. In fact, I assert in his video address, not only does he denigrate Hip Hop Culture, he is tarnishing the Gold Coast’s appearance too.
In Sauce’s video, he touched on Mr Tate’s use of the word “Princess.” Gender stereotypes can be difficult to unpack in a two minute clip, but I want to expand on it here. By using the term “Princess” to refer to a male is rude to both men and women. Specifically, from Mr Tate’s position of power (with wealth and public leadership), it infers that a Princess is a negative position, and as girls are Princesses, they must be negative. It also emasculates the male and creates levels of good verses bad. I would like to invoke such a gender stereotype and suggest that a gentleman of Mr Tate’s position should know better than to use stereotypes as put-downs. I expect more from our leaders, and I believe we need to keep them to account.
So, in sum, Mr Tate has done nothing to cultivate creativity on the Gold Coast nor act as an ambassador for Gold Coast tourism. By acting in an immature and ignorant fashion he as added to Justin Bieber’s profile. Nice work, Mr Tate.
Peace, Ainslie Rose.