Graffiti in Art

What is art? Is it something we find aesthetically pleasing or is it something we find intellectually compatible? Is it a physical object, a metaphor or something with a deep and strong meaning.

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22nd February 2012
  1. 4 Examples of Graffiti
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People see art in many different ways; I see everything as art. From the graffiti on an old mill, to the most delicate pieces in the worlds leading galleries. I am going to look at people opinions of graffiti; whether to them, it is art, or not. Graffiti can be seen in many forms, as shown above. It can be portrayed as a public piece to make a statement; done by people such as Banksy and King Robbo. Or it can be thought of as “vandalism”, however in my opinion graffiti is not “vandalism”, it is art. Just because it is mainly found in undesirable places without permission doesn’t mean that no thought and depth has been put into it. Some of the most well-known artist may take less time through a thought process when designing work but that doesn’t make them any less or more of an artist than graffiti artists.

A lot of the older generations do not approve of graffiti as they also dub it as “vandalism” and mainly think of the younger generations as the reason for it becoming such a worldwide issue. To photograph some local pieces of graffiti I visited a local derelict mill which opened my eyes to a large variety of graffiti. I was also told by someone up there, who was much older than myself and was starting a piece of work, that he had travelled from Manchester just for this location. So clearly there is some thought into where they will be based.

Images 2 and 3, show graffiti in two different environments, one in a commercial building and one in a gallery. The point I would like to discuss is, when does graffiti become art? Is it the moment it passes through the gallery door, or it is at the start or completion of the piece? The way I see it is no matter what it is or where it is, anything can be art as long as it has a thought process behind it and has evidence to back it up. For example, we visited the Tate Modern gallery in September 2011 and saw some quite famous pieces or work. However, some of them were so basic and didn’t seem to have much meaning or make an impression on you, yet when you read the description, the meaning became clear and made much more sense. I also photographed some graffiti along the Thames, which I found very interesting, as they were in such a public place and hadn’t been removed in any way.

A question I found on yahoo answers was,

“What are your views on graffiti?
As a sub culture, graffiti is blowing up in the UK more than ever, but what’s your views on it, is it art? Or is it a nuisance?”

“If our councils/planners build boring walls, underpasses etc. Then it is inviting graffiti. Graffiti can be very interesting, creative and artistic. Some schoolchildren have been organised into decorating boring walls with pictures and other areas have been covered with some very attractive/thought provoking work. I believe though that the nature of graffiti is not to be permanent - that it is acceptable to have your work covered by new work - all about self-expression - much better than being aggressive/anti-social etc.” and also “if its people tagging to mark their "hood" then it’s a nuisance. But a lot of graffiti is very artistic, i personally love it. The graffiti you find on the outside of trains is generally quite good, but not on peoples houses....”

I completely agree with both of these statements and from the answers I have found most people see graffiti as an art form and I appreciate that. From asking many people their opinion on graffiti, it appears to be the location of it that matters.

The last image above shows and artist called Julian Beever, who is an English chalk artist who creates anamorphic illusions drawn in a special distortion in order to create an impression of 3 dimensions when seen from one particular viewpoint. He creates these pieces of art in public places for people to see. Does that make it graffiti? Like Graffiti it is only temporary so does that make it just as inappropriate as graffiti? Or is it because most passing people find it aesthetically pleasing? This must be the borderline between the two.

What I would like to achieve from this story, is a number of opinions on your views on graffiti. This would be a massive help to me and would be much appreciated.
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Beth Knoedelseder says...
I believe graffiti is art. I taught a graffiti unit at the beginning of the year to my 6th graders. I posed the same question to them. We had a blast creating graffiti of the character ed words and displayed them in the hallways.
26 February 12