Should Graffiti Be Considered Art?

Vanessa Hite, Opinion editor/writer

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When someone asks you about graffiti, what do you picture? Most onlookers picture graffiti as ‘tags’, or the fancy writing of names. However, graffiti is so much more. Graffiti can be a mural of beautiful oceans or a multicolored mural with a hidden statement. Many witnesses observe the imaginative showcase of the illegal art known as graffiti.The definition of art is the expression of human creative imagination, therefore proving that graffiti is, in fact, art. So why continue to investigate whether or not graffiti should be art or vandalism?

Artist Chelsea McIntosh stated that graffiti is a form of art. “Just because someone may not like the style or way a graffiti artist showcases their form of art, does not mean that it just vanished off the “list of arts”. Some people don’t like broccoli but that doesn’t mean it just vanished off of the “list of foods”.

Mr. Matthew Gadberry, art teacher, said that, “Graffiti (“tagging”) reaches a culture that may not connect to a traditional sense of painting or sculpting in the visual arts.” Instead the piece connects to a wider audience, becoming a global artwork, which “may be an even stronger source of social discussion”. Graffiti has shown to be gaining more of an audience from the art world, due to people coming to the artwork to take a selfie.

Throughout the world, graffiti is classified as art, creativity, vandalism, legal, and illegal. In the U.S., multiple cities have made graffiti legal, allowing the colorful art in limited areas. While other cities, that are known to be out of control, have outlawed graffiti. Graffiti images in Zimbabwe, are often found along the sides of government property.

Police officers argue that graffiti should be considered vandalism for the soul purpose of marking another’s property. When a person creates graffiti, it costs more money for the city to get the paint removed than it cost the person to buy the spray paint.That money could be going towards fixing the roads, yet they spend it to take away the vandalism that was created.

Graffiti was first created and is still known to this day as a parody of political debate. These works of parody’s have often lead to police deeming the artwork as vandalism. The amount of power we are given, some take a bit overboard. Even though the political, philosophical, works of art may be a form of opinion, the abuse of power is in play.

Graffiti has been around for decades and I highly doubt it’s going to dissipate anytime soon. So next time you pass a piece of graffiti among the streets, stop to think, ‘Is this truly art or just vandalism?’ Take your time and when you’re ready let us know. What did you decide?


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Should Graffiti Be Considered Art?