Wherever you are in the world, you’re guaranteed to see some sort of graffiti. While it is a form of self-expression, it is also illegal in many places. Thousands of dollars are spent globally in the effort to eradicate illegal graffiti, but it remains prevalent in cities everywhere.
People find it hard to see how a name that has been spray-painted onto a wall is art, but you can find so many graffiti masterpieces that are way beyond the skill and talent that is generally associated with someone that writes graffiti.
Even though the popularity of graffiti has risen and it has started to be taken more seriously, the question remains: is graffiti art, or is it vandalism?
Graffiti ranges all the way from stickers and small tags to huge great murals on the sides of buildings. These murals usually have much deeper meanings and messages, just like the art you find in museums and galleries. Ever seen graffiti and think, ‘how did they even get up there?’ That’s heaven graffiti, and getting up there in the first place must be an art form in itself, never mind the piece they create there. With some graffiti, it’s easy to see how it’s classed as art but, with others, not so much.
Graffiti can be influential, political, philosophical and have such great significance, and there are plenty of famous graffiti murals and artists across the globe. The infamous Banksy is a great example. His stencil pieces have appeared all over the world, including London, New York and Jerusalem. The political and philosophical messages behind his work are what make him the renowned artist he is today.
Shephard Fairey, David Choe and Saber are other artists that have had significant influence on graffiti as an art form. Even famous traditional artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat actually started out as graffiti artist themselves.
There are many places that now use graffiti as murals and artists are commissioned to create pieces on buildings and in specific areas. Some are monumental and hold much historical significance, like The Berlin Wall, which started off as illegal graffiti but is now one of the most famous sites of significant art pieces in the world, as is the Lennon Wall in Washington D.C, which the police have consistently tried to whitewash but artists continue to cover with political messages and pictures.
Illegal graffiti is a prevalent problem for authorities all over the world, and many artists get arrested and prosecuted when caught doing so. In an attempt to reduce the number of illegal graffiti drawings popping up in places where it is not wanted, legal walls have been developed where artists can go and throw up their tags and masterpieces with no consequences. There can be some serious repercussions for graffitiing illegally, so if there aren’t any legal walls near you, it is probably best you find some other ways of entertaining yourself this summer. But be on the lookout for them!
Some graffiti is undoubtedly an eyesore but, when done with passion, meaning or to make a stance, graffiti cannot be classed as anything other than a legit form of art.