Why People Have to Scribble on Walls

The Need to Create is Etched on Man’s Soul

Mankind has never been able to resist the urge to scribble on walls!

We’ve been decorating our living and work spaces for at least 40,000 years; some say it’s more like 164,000 years. Anyway, it’s a long time and nothing much has changed in the interim.

The things that rule our lives are usually what we favour for our décor.

Our ancient cave-dwelling ancestors made stencils of their hands and remarkably accurate renditions of animals like lions, tigers, bears, antelope, wild boar and wild cattle.

Rhinos, Horses and Lions in Incredible Detail from The Chauvet Cave in France

(DRAC Rhone-Alpes, Ministere de la Culture / AP Images)


While we’ve expanded our repertoire beyond what we liked to eat and what liked to eat us, we still have the need to put our stamp on the places we live and work in.

We hang scenes of nature that bring us peace of mind or pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, The Eiffel Tower or a free climbing mountaineer to inspire us to reach our goals or strive for the seemingly impossible.

Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash


Early Times

Let’s get back to the hand stencils from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and the amazingly detailed creatures of the Chauvet Cave in France.

The hand stencils, which at 40 000 years are the oldest found so far, seem to make a statement about identity, community and possession; the animals, it was once thought, were impressions of creatures the ancients hunted for food.

It has since been mooted that images of the less aggressive creatures may well have been prehistoric kitchen wall art, but the fiercer creatures had an entirely different focus.

Tigers, mammoths, wolves, bears and the like were possibly motivational or aspirational art. As French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss put it 1962, the more awe-inspiring creatures were depicted not because they were “good to eat” but because they were “good to think.”


Direct Connection

In other words, their paintings of indomitable creatures were the equivalent of our motivational posters of wolves, bears, lions, cougars, breaching wales and beautiful scenes with inspiring quotes and slogans. They make us feel good about ourselves and help us aspire to greater things.


Tranquility to Infinity: Beautiful Art Soothes the Soul - Long Lake Fog by Martin Sommer

From the caves of the first homo sapiens to the pyramids of Egypt; the ancient tombs of Etruscan nobility; the walls of the doomed city of Pompeii; the incredible frescoes and works of art that have come down to us from the Renaissance; all the way to our own homes and public spaces; down the millennia, wall art has always been a part of the human environment.


The Call to Decorate

So, now you know why that last spot of empty wall is offending you so much – it’s your inner caveman screaming across the ages; he will not be denied.

And, if you didn’t like graffiti artists before, now maybe you’ll have a soft spot for Banksy, Lady Pink,

Blek le Rat and the rest – they’re answering the same call you’re hearing.

Reverse Graffiti – Where Pollution’s Muck and Grime are Cleaned Away to Make Art


Keep it Green

Preserving our planet is essential. When you buy wall art, make sure it’s environmentally friendly.

At Green Earth Artworks, we make a point of keeping it green, so step into our gallerys – you’ll like what you find there.

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