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Graffiti is art, not vandalism

Updated on January 28, 2009

Graffiti - Art or Vandalism?

Graffiti is regularly referred to as ‘Unwanted’, ‘Vandalism’, ‘Sight Damage’, or ‘Art’. But what is it really? Should it be totally banished and punished, or does it belong in art galleries? I think that graffiti is indeed, in a certain depth, an art form.

When you hear the word Graffiti, you probably think about gangs and other illegal actions. It is true that gangs tag buildings to mark of their ‘territory’, but not all artists have this intention. However, because of this, people often label graffiti simply as vandalism, although others might say that it actually enhances the urban landscape and gives feelings about the society. These people say that graffiti is a Gallery art.

This is where the real graffiti artist come in, these artists strive to detach themselves from the regular ‘vandals’. That’s why you start to hear more about ‘hip-hop graffiti’, ‘public art’, ‘street art’ or ‘post-graffiti’. These terms mean nothing more than the word ‘graffiti’. People who have worked with graffiti artists will tell you that most of them have no intention of ruining things at all.

If Picasso would have made one of his paintings on the wall of a building, would this be seen as vandalism? I don’t think so. Just because it isn't done in a studio doesn't mean it's not art. People consider a lot of things as art, so why don’t they consider graffiti as an art form?

Also, graffiti is a much more direct way of telling people about your thoughts. This is because it’s on the streets for free, you don’t have to pay a single penny or take any time of your busy life to enter a museum.

Would I consider Graffiti as art? Absolutely. Is graffiti accepted by the general public? No. The thing is, graffiti is often attention grabbing as you walk down the street, ride the train… etc. It is forced on the public, as opposed to going to a gallery or private venue, like an advertisement on a billboard. Imagine if billboards were used, instead of buildings or walls, for graffiti, instead of advertising. Would it then become a socially recognized form of art? Would that then change the essence of graffiti?

If you take, for example, Keith Haring, he drew graffiti on the streets of New York, and he was never looked upon as an outcast or a criminal. Graffiti writers are artists, having more talent than some of the world’s greatest renown artists. I think graffiti artists should use what they have to better themselves. Make money of their talent instead of wasting it on illegal walls. I believe that one day, hundreds of years from now, graffiti artists will appear in history books as some of the greatest artists to have ever lived.

So even when considering all this, why is graffiti still considered as vandalism? I think that the medium the artists use is the biggest problem. Instead of canvas, the artists choose publics buildings, trains, electricity poles, subways, doors, garages, etc… It seems that not everybody can appreciate it, they call it ‘city-decay’. This is probably because most people just don’t look open-minded at the picture, and don’t try to find out the message of the artists.

Keith Haring - Characters
Keith Haring - Characters


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    • profile image

      2 years ago

      its ture


    • profile image

      Me 3 years ago

      This is so true and i definitely believe that graffiti is art.

    • profile image

      Awesome! 3 years ago

      This helped so much!! Thx heaps!!

    • profile image

      very nice 3 years ago

      yes much love

    • profile image

      Divinxx1 3 years ago

      Graffiti look cool

    • profile image

      Divine 3 years ago

      I lovie

    • profile image

      yolo 3 years ago

      dam tagers

    • profile image

      Tutku 3 years ago

      You helped me. Thank you vere very much :):):)

    • profile image

      is a crime 4 years ago

      its pretty much both..the spot where it is placed will determine wether it's one or the other.

    • profile image

      corey 4 years ago

      preach it brother!

    • profile image

      @MyName 4 years ago

      Skuxxboi has the worst spelling ever (No Offense)

    • profile image

      skuxxboi 5 years ago

      mean cuz hit uhp ur graff g

    • profile image

      Vince 5 years ago


      yeah I agree let those taggers do there own thing. 5 people agree cant argue over that.

    • profile image

      firigo 5 years ago


      I agree that graffiti is an art and let those

      taggers do there thing for sure.

    • profile image

      Ruby 5 years ago

      Cool site

    • profile image

      Cassie 5 years ago

      Love this site

    • profile image

      Rachel 5 years ago

      Graffiti pfft it is an art for sure

    • profile image

      Junior 5 years ago


      I guarantee that taggers would "Be caught dead" defacing their own property I'm 32 and I encourage taggers to do there thing I find it a beautiful Art.

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      Kris 5 years ago

      @Melissa, that's because hipsters are trying to brain wash everyone. I guarantee taggers wouldn't be caught dead defacing their own property or their family's property. Why? Because removal can be expensive and they want to pass the cost off to someone else.

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      Melissa 5 years ago

      As I have searched, is graffiti a type of vandalism or art, more websites have said that graffiti is art.

      I agree with you as you are saying that graffiti is art.

    • profile image

      Landon 5 years ago

      I personally enjoy Street art. But I hate, when idiots just ruin it for the real artists by writing swear words on unwanted places. That isn't art. When you put it in a normal spot, put effort into it, then it's art.