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Graffiti is art, not vandalism
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.