Graffiti is Vandalism Essay
Most of the opposition to graffiti art is due to its location and bold, unexpected, and unconventional presentation, but its presentation and often illegal location does not necessarily disqualify it as art. In this paper, I elucidate how some forms of graffiti can be accepted as art.
This type of graffiti is known as graffiti art, subway art, or spraycan art. The arguments of vandalism and unconventional presentation as negating the ability of some graffiti to be art is usurped by an explanation of those properties apparent in some forms of graffiti that do qualify it, aesthetically, as art.
To show this, I provide a historical context of graffiti, and then I provide persuasive evidence that graffiti art is art. The origins of graffiti go back to the beginnings of human, societal living. Graffiti has been found on uncovered, ancient, Egyptian monuments, and graffiti even was preserved on walls in Pompeii. Graffiti is the plural form of the Italian word grafficar. In plural, grafficar signifies drawings, markings, patterns, scribbles, or messages that are painted, written, or carved on a wall or surface.
In reference to present day graffiti, the definition is qualified by adding that graffiti is also any unsolicited marking on a private or public property that is usually considered to be vandalism. There are various forms of graffiti. One of the simplest forms is that of individual markings such as slogans, slurs, or political statements. Examples of this type of graffiti commonly are found in bathrooms or on exterior surfaces, and this graffiti is usually handwritten. Both the tag or individual mark have little or no aesthetic appeal. While they might suggest a flair or style of writing, these forms fail to qualify as example of superb graffiti art because of a lack of aesthetic qualities and inability to produce a maximal aesthetic feeling in the viewer.
In fact, the tag or individual mark is not produced for artistic purposes. Murals for community enhancement and beautification are also a form of graffiti even though they are not usually thought of this way because most murals are commissioned. These are more colorful and complex. They take considerable amount of skill to complete, and murals can be done in a graffiti art style or a traditional pictorial scene.
The last form of graffiti is graffiti art which is the creative use of spraypaint to produce an artwork that is graffiti or done in a graffiti-like style, and this the is the concern of this discussion. However, it should be noted that tagging appeared in Philadelphia before New York. The advent of the spraypaint allowed for the tag to develop in size and color.
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The spraycan separated the taggers from the artists in that color, form, and style could be emphasized creatively with this new tool to produce s tag as a part of an overall artistic production. The tag which is monochromatic and a writing style that just about anyone can do, gave way to the throw-up, which is a two color tag usually in outline or bubble-like lettering. Again this style is not too difficult, but soon more complicated styles evolved.
The stamp is a little harder and involves the use straight letters to produce a 3-D effect.
The piece, which is short for masterpiece, appeared next, and it is a large multicolor work. On the contrary, style and artistic talent were and continue to be extremely important. The goal was and is to create burners which are pieces that stand out because of creativity, color, vibrancy, crisp outlines, i. It is the recognizable artistic talent of the graffiti artist that established his or her reign on the subway line and not just the appearance of s name in a thousand different places.
The styles that emerged with the previously mentioned forms during this time were round popcorn or bubble letters, wildstyle which is an intricate, interlocking type of calligraphy that is difficult and almost impossible to read, computer and gothic lettering, 3-D lettering, fading which blends colors, and the use of cartoon characters. The ability to produce complicated pieces is what separates the tagger from the graffiti artist; graffitist for short.
Taggers scribble and graffitists do art. The high visibility of the train and the potential audience encouraged more artists to participate in this new form of art. The biggest promotional vehicle for graffiti art worldwide has been the Hip-Hop phenomenon which is the culture associated with rap music. Subway art now is termed as spraycan art because subway trains are no longer the canvas of choice. Besides, every graffitist could not possibly do all of his or her work on subway cars because of laws, police, and the dangerous environment of the subway yards and lay-up stations.
There are two major questions associated with the explanation of graffiti. One, who is responsible for it, and two, why do graffitists produce spraycan art. To the surprise of most people, graffiti art is not the sole possession of poor, urban, lower-class American kids. Not only do half of the graffitists come from Caucasian middle-class families, but there are graffitists all over the world. There is no general classification of the kids Graffitist range in age from years old, and there are male and female artists. In the past, graffiti artists usually worked alone, but the size and complexity of pieces as well as safety concerns motivated artists to work together in crews, which are groups of graffitists that vary in membership from 3 to 10 or more persons.
A member of a crew can be down with, i. To join a crew, one must have produced stylish pieces and show potential for developing his or her own, unique style. A crew is headed by a king or queen who is usually that person recognized as having the best artistic ability among the members of the crew. The reasons and values for why one might engage in graffiti art are as varied as the artists who produce it. Graffiti is also a form of self expression.
This type of communication is of value because it links people regardless of cultural, lingual, or racial differences in way that nothing else can. In addition, producing graffiti art with a crew builds team work in that the crew works together for the accomplishment of a common goal.
The feeling of this achievement in league with others is of value to the artist. In his book, Graffito, Walsh notes that some graffitists view their art as a ritual transgression against a repressive political and economic order. For some artists see themselves as revolutionaries reacting against the established art market or gallery system in that art is not only that which appears in the gallery as determined by the curator.
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Some artists also view their creations on public and private spaces as a statement against Western ideas of capitalism and private property. Of course, the majority of graffitists enjoy what they do and find it to be fun, rewarding, and exciting. Although these reasons are valid, they do not conclusively settle the matter as to why graffiti art is art or why it is a valid art form despite its illegal origins. Graffiti as seen and experienced on the New York City subway trains and that which developed into the modern-day form of spraycan art is art.
The production of graffiti art includes established techniques and styles, and the art form also is characterized by a standard medium; spraypaint. For example, novices are taught how to use spraypaint according to various styles and how to adjust nozzles as well as how to fit and use other types of aerosol caps onto spraycans for different artistic effects.
The forms of graffiti art have developed through the years from the mere gestures of tagging to established conventional practices of the graffiti art world such as creating the tag according to a method, like wildstyle, that makes it an integral, flowing element of the overall piece. In addition, graffiti art is not a spontaneous activity like tagging in the form of fancy scribble. The completion of a piece or a production involves a great deal of imagination, planning, and effort.
The graffitist first does a sketch. Then he or she plans out characters and selects colors. Graffiti can also be analyzed according to the elements of lines, color, and structures that are present in the work in order to produce a narrative about it. Graffitists intend their work to be apprehended as art that can communicate feelings and ideas to the audience. Plus, graffiti art has a function of not only communicating to others, but it also beautifies the community by appearing on areas that normally would be eyesores, such as a wall in a vacant lot or an abandoned building.
Furthermore, all of the aesthetic properties and criteria from the base element of color to the complex issue of artist intention which are ascribed to other works in order to characterize them as art can all be found in examples of spraycan art. The only difference between those works in a gallery or museum and graffiti art in terms of how and why the latter is not readily accepted as art is due to its location and presentation.
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Indeed the issues of location and presentation are the most significant obstacles to a wholehearted acceptance of spraycan art as art. Graffiti art cannot be disregarded simply because it is not presented in the conventional location and manner, i.
Graffiti : Vandalism Or Art Essay - Words - BrightKite
The location of it on a wall or subway without permission only makes it unsolicited art. As such, it can be called vandalism, but again, this does not disqualify it as art. Rather the categorization of graffiti art as unsolicited art that is vandalism only justifies a removal of it from the surface.
On the other hand, the vandalism aspect of graffiti art can be considered as a uniqueness and not a detracting feature of the art form because as vandalism, graffiti art is very temporary. A piece which might be sixty feet long, twelve feet high, and take twenty to thirty cans of paint and at least eight hours to produce might be gone in a matter of minutes. Another challenge to graffiti art is that it is forced upon the public because people have no say in its production despite the fact that public funds are used to remove it.
Graffitists counter with the argument that buildings, billboards, campaign ads, and flyers are also forced on the public in a similar manner. Spraycan art suffers other criticisms because of the generic characterization of all graffiti as being gang related and simply a matter of tagging. Goldman claims that art takes us to other worlds in a manner that is quite fulfilling sensually and aesthetically.
This removal from the real world is enhanced by the mood of the gallery or the dark setting of the opera house. Most of the time when we encounter art and are transported by it to other worlds, we are in a location in which we expect this to happen. However, this is not the case with graffiti art. For it appears suddenly and in unexpected places. Thus, when we apprehend it, we are transported to these other worlds at a time and in a place that we are not accustomed to doing so.
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Graffiti should be recognized as art, not vandalism
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