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Is Graffiti Art?

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Is Graffiti Art? Graffiti has loomed between the borders of true art, mindless trash and a way of solely getting your name around, and more people seeing it. Is Graffiti the everyday scrawlings of misdirected teenagers or the well-laced masterpiece by a keen eye? For years the opinions have changed and shifted. Currently there is not a consensus about whether graffiti can yet be classed as art. Art to some people would be the great works of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bottachelli, Matisse, Van Gough, and Monet but in today's world anything can be classed as 'art'. Different forms and styles have arisen and most people have an opinion on what is art. A splatter of paint on canvas; art? Brush strokes on a page; art? A collage out of rubbish; art? Who decides what is art and what is not? How can someone say "that is not art" when the creator believes it to be exquisite? Why do some people perceive graffiti as nothing but paint on a wall and not the true masterpiece that others believe it really is. The many forms and styles of graffiti make it hard to distinguish the meaningless strokes from those that are clearly art if you choose to see them. Can some writers go over the top and do too much? Or not do enough for it to be classed as art? To understand this we have to look back at the history of graffiti. Graffiti originated with the Romans when they started to write on the buildings of the towns they conquered and even before words were used, the cave men painted on walls. The late 1960's saw graffiti's current identity starting to form. It was used primarily by political activists to make statements and also by street gangs to mark territory. The most commonly termed graffiti begins in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, during the mid to late 60's and is rooted in bombing. ...read more.


A 'permission wall' is when the owner allows graffiti artists to paint on their property. This is legal because the actual owner is allowing the graffiti. Usually the owner is not creatively involved, but they can be. They have to see the final sketch and decide if it is acceptable and to make sure that they are making the correct choice of what is being painted on their property. Vandalism is unauthorised painting and more recently, window etching of private or public property that vandalises roadsides, mass transit, commercial districts, and residential areas. These taggers use spray paint markers, shoe polish, rollers with paint, blades and anything else they can get their hands on to write with. This form of graffiti is seen as ugly and pointless; buy the graffiti writers themselves, and some if not most of society. This is the real vandalism: - the tags, and not pieces that took skill and hours of hard work to produce. The writers should not be punished for creating such masterpieces as they are doing a favour to society and creating free art wherever they go, seeing as it actually costs them money to graffiti; they have to buy their own supplies, and they don't get paid for doing it. The writers are at risk of getting caught and sent to prison; in effect they are paying us to paint. The world is their gallery and you don't have to pay a penny to go and view it. Graffiti may be viewed from many different perspectives, depending on that person's opinion. Either they strictly disapprove of the practice or, whether they do not mind it; whether they see it as an art form or whether they are totally for the production of graffiti. Obviously there are many variations within these rough guidelines as people have different ideas about what is graffiti. The opinion given on graffiti also depends on where that graffiti is situated, if it is on a wall, a bus, someone's house, or a canvas in a gallery. ...read more.


Graffiti culture thus came to exist in photos, video tapes and fanzines as well as on the street. It spread to other cities and often demarcated the territory of different gangs. Although the army smaller and the victories fewer, the movement lives on, continuing the tradition despite tremendous odds and low morale among their peers these committed individuals' battle on. Many of these writers bomb under the notion that walls, canvas and freights are a second rate medium and that the only 'real graffiti' can be found on trains. Many writers condemn the efforts of clean train writers, stating that it is pointless to do work that will not run. This line of thinking, however, does not discourage the clean train writer. Participants range from diehards who are unwilling to give up the war against the 'graffiti is crime' idea, to new writers who are too young to have experienced transit bombing, to foreign writers making their pilgrimage to the birth place of aerosol art. It all seems to boil down to the thrill of it. In recent years graffiti blasters have become as big a presence in the graffiti world as graffiti artists themselves. In Chicago their numbers are high as they have the nation's top graffiti blasting team and equipment. New technology has enabled the removal of permanent spray paint pieces from nearly any surface, through the use of highly concentrated amounts of baking soda. The thought that graffiti can be erased nowadays brings strong emotions to the writers, seeing their hard work, time and money be washed away. Graffiti can be considered art, because it denotes meaning for the individual, and hopefully to the people that are viewing it. It is said that graffiti is a language, an image, a voice and a vision engaging the spirit when the soul of art is discovered. There are so many hidden meanings in murals that it is hard for some people to grasp because they can not relate to it. But for those who can, the murals and graffiti are considered art. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rebecca Chapman 1 ...read more.

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