Is graffiti art or vandalism?

Is graffiti art or vandalism?

Ashley Hale, Staff Writer

We’ve all seen graffiti before, whether it was on the side of a building, fence, or train. It can be anything from intricate drawings to simple words or phrases.

Graffiti originated in the 1960’s, it gained its popularity from a young man who went by the name of “Cornbread.” He began tagging his nickname all over the city to gain popularity from the press and his fellow people. Soon, train-riders began to pick up the trend, which then made it spread to New York in the 1970’s.

As it became more popular, people started to add more colors to their words and also making them bold, hence the well-known bubble letters. By the 1980-90’s graffiti had spread across America and also to Europe.

The real question is; what is graffiti? Is it a way to express oneself and even spread the word about important movements? Or is it the destruction of public or private property and cannot be considered art due to the laws behind it?

To be able to properly decide what graffiti is we need to understand the types of graffiti:

Tag: The simplest form of graffiti, it is usually a symbol or name of a person that can easily be repeated.

Throw-up: Usually consists of two or three colors. It is similar to tagging because it is easily repeated, but it is usually bolder. It is also used to identify a person.

Stencil: It is a quick and easy way to put up a semi-complicated painting. You can simply hold up a stencil and spray or you can layer it with multiple stencils and colors.

Stickers (Slaps): These are more popular among artists who like to add a lot of detail. They can spend a lot of time on it and then easily stick it anywhere.

Wildstyle: This is an extremely complicated and personalized style of writing. It can be very difficult to read. It is often considered the most complicated form of graffiti.

Piece: short for masterpiece, is a very complicated form of graffiti. They are hard to do illegally because of the time and effort that is needed to be put in.

Blockbuster: The goal of this type of graffiti is to take up as much space as possible in the smallest amount of time. Often used to show territory.

Heaven: This is a work that is put in a hard-to-reach place, which makes it difficult for removal. Artists will usually gain respect from other artists for completing these.

Now that we can properly understand what graffiti is we can decide what can be considered art.