Societal Views On Graffiti: Street Art Or Vandalism

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When you think of graffiti what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Vandalism or street art? Most would say vandalism, but what makes the distinction between the two? The intention of the piece. There’s a difference between defiling the back of a building and beautiful artwork. Just as there are different forms of everything as is true in graffiti. One of the types of graffiti is “tagging,” where it’s more of a marking of territory (Miller). Which no one agrees that tagging is art. Then there is graffiti, which is inarguably art. Graffiti is a ​form of expression, its diverse, and it makes a statement. It’s more than just some markings on a wall. It’s more than an unwanted visual.

Graffiti gives individuals the freedom to express themselves with no restrictions or criteria. For some, this freedom comes from the accessibility of graffiti. All a person needs is a can of spray paint and an idea, and the artist can create what they want, instead of having to buy expensive supplies to begin with. For other graffiti artists, the advantage of this art, is that they can express an opinion or idea, as a political issue in an attempt to be heard and perhaps create an impact. This also allows people to show gratitude by expressing how they feel about society.

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This kind of freedom gives the street art room to create conversations that may have never been started. It also is a form of therapy for most, by choosing to express their self through their graffiti artwork. It allows everyone a voice as “Today we see see that graffiti is an art form where people can express their feelings and thoughts that are able to have a long lasting impression on the city”(Smit).

This form of art not only allows you to express yourself, but it's also an art form for any race, gender, social status, and creed. There are no requirements to graffiti. It’s done all over the world from all races, and social classes. In graffiti, “There are street artist in nearly every country who are influenced and inspired by a multitude of cultures and styles, resulting in a wide and expansive body of urban art that can be found all over the world”(10 reasons to love street art). Enjoying open spaces and appreciating this art has, in many cases, helped people from all over the world to generate positive change, turning this space into a center of creative effervescence and human interaction. This brings all walks of life together by having something in common. This connection can turn strangers to long life companions. Graffiti allows you to step into the world or mind of someone you may not likely have a conversation with.

Graffiti is one of the most expressive, all inclusive types of art that makes a loud statement. This type of artistic expression has been born from diverse ends, among which social, protest and political themes have predominated. It as a way to give life to a diversity of public spaces, such as buildings, bridges and parking lots. Graffiti represents the culture or history of someone's views towards politics or society. One can assume that many of these street artists aren’t sure how to make themselves be heard but, “It can be a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire”(Maddox). This gives them a platform to express their views and make a bold statement.

Critics argue that graffiti is vandalism. It is known that “Graffiti that is gang related or expresses hateful sentiments is most likely to be unwelcomed in an area”(Sanchez). As a result, the places that are being destroyed no longer have a simple signature, but a drawing with negative messages. It is understandable why the opposition believes that graffiti damages. Though it is true that graffiti can make people feel unsafe it represents a form of free expression. This also brings less violence by allowing people to protest without violence.

At the end of the day we all have different views on what we consider art. Graffiti is the perfect example of what a unique piece of art is considered. It is not only is seen in the back of wall, but also in many countries that attract people from all over the world. This kind of art has made an impact in the world of art. It has allowed people to come together as a whole to grasp the understanding of graffiti.

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