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Tagging and the Art of Leaving



When I came up with the name The Art of Leaving , I felt a surge of perfection, I'd bridged a few creative obsessions of mine with a philosophic overtone that appealed to my word play and the unknown.

Some friends loved the name , others felt a bit disturbed by it . Was I talking about death and how to do it well ? Yes, if I could even begin to touch on the subject of death I would be happy .If I was talking about leaving things made of leaves, shouldnt it be called leafing? Could people work out what I was on about anyway. I'd put in an arts council application and had been turned down , the feedback was that my artistic vision was a unclear.

I was dissappointed, but I had to agree they were right , I was trying to bring lotsof elements together , leaving traces of things behind with leaves, leaving the planet well, leaving legacies, bringing in poems, stories and ceremonies reflecting cultural differences around death and dying, why was I making it into an art ? I just liked the word play essentially and it touched something intangible in me.

Anyway without the Arts council funding I could do what I liked and so I have, though it wasnt such a grand project as I'd imagined . Now Im approaching the intended end of my project. It began on Halloween, celtic Samhain and ends on Imbolc ( 2nd Feb Chritianised as Candlemass) the mid point between winter solstice and spring equinox.

Thanks to my supporters we've raised enough to cover the costs to pay a graphic designer to bring all the photos of the last few months together, the leavings, the mandalas, the trees in their autumn and winter glory ,and have it printed into one big Billboard to be put up at the end of January in St Werburghs celebrating Imbolc and project end.

If I can raise anymore over the next week there can also be one at the bottom of Gloucester rd.

If you want to contribute use this link

I will let everyone know when its going up and thank you to all those who have helped so far.

And so I leave the Art of Leaving till next Autumn,maybe by then I will have managed to communicate my artistic vision a bit better for the Arts council or any other funders who want to see how far and wide the Art of Leaving can reach.



I live in an area where some ingocnito young people also leave traces of themselves, over walls , lamposts, letter boxes telephone cable boxes, brickwork or lovely fresh paintwork its all fair game to them . They call it tagging and it seriously pisses me off . I dont want my locality to be permananetly scrawled over , but who am I to censor their urge to be seen, to make their mark ?


I am holding out for some inspiration to transform their tags into something we can all live with. Meanwhile heres a poem I wrote a few years ago that probably marks the beginning of my tussle with the idea that there is an Art to Leaving.

Tagging rant

I, call you a tag Slag

And me, the anti Tag hag

You, claim a slither of space, or a whole empty wall

To take up your paint and adorn with a scrawl,

Spraying your name on your territory

Making your mark, like a dog on a tree.

I see a meaningless scribble,

That comes from your can like an impotent dribble.

You,have a moment of triumph, an adrenaline rush,

You look at your work and with pride you must flush.

I try to appreciate, your desire to communicate,

“I was ere” is the statement you make.

I search for more meaning, for artistic intent,

But your daubings are ugly and for this I lament.

Sometimes I imagine scenarios of revenge,

I follow you home and, then I pretend,

I spray all your windows your walls and your doors

And when you complain I say “Oh , is this yours?”

I know that your needs are not the same as mine

I’m an old granny and this is your time

I’d be happy to share a fine wall here and there

But you want them all and that doesn’t seem fair.

Tagging’s a virus, a fungal infection

You sneak in and out with out detection

More taggers appear on your initial success

They add and they add till it’s all such a mess.

I wouldn’t mind if they faded away

But we have to live with them day after day

So when morning breaks and I see that you’ve been

I’ll take up my brush and I paint it all clean.

On our sweet lane, there’s 3 Black lamp posts

Their clear shiny surfaces I cherish the most.

There’s a battle I’m waging to keep them pristine

As I paint out your visit you must think I’m mean.

For you are the sprayer the tagger supreme

And I am the slayer, the tag hag that dreams,

Of transforming your street mess to something much better

Than the chaos of random and jumbled up letters.

Sometimes you write on the side of my van.

I guess that you do it just cos you can.

It’s then that I scheme for your final come uppance,

Though I know in my heart you don’t give a tuppance.

I hope that you”re listening to my anti tag spiel,

And now that you know just how I feel

You’ll take up your can and spray a reply

That inspiring or funny as it catches my eye.

Deasy Bamford

May 2017









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