Essay Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?

1139 Words 5 Pages
Art: the ultimate form of self expression. But, what constitutes an art? And, who decides? These very questions plague society as it tries to decide and define the official status of graffiti--art or vandalism? Because it has found its way into art galleries and because of the community of artists who challenge and inspire each other, graffiti should be considered art and as a way to express oneself.
The origin and history of graffiti is not what one might expect. Believed to have been created by a Philadelphia high school student named Cornbread in 1967, it was a bold effort to catch the attention of a girl (De Melker). In this same time period, graffiti sprung up in New York as well. It was “one among many forms of social protest” during
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Many cities view graffiti as dirty and worthless; for example, the city of San Antonio has arranged an anti-graffiti campaign in which the city boldly states “graffiti is ugly” (“Graffiti”). This attitude towards graffiti and the obsession with ridding cities of graffiti sparked the ever-present negative outlook on the craft, spoiling its artistic value.
This negative shadow on the art form of graffiti has caused the decline of the graffiti movement. As many have predicted, “graffiti may eventually disappear” (“The Writing's on the Wall; Graffiti”). Graffiti has already begun to dwindle from what was once a flourishing art movement, to an almost disesteemed hobby. However, a soiled reputation is not the only culprit in the murder of authentic graffiti. The occupation of the current generation with technology and social media has caused many artists to focus solely on selling their work and gaining attention through social networking platforms. Another, perhaps more common, reason for the decline is the improvement of police work and punishments for those indulging in the illegal form of graffiti (“The Writing's on the Wall; Graffiti”). Because of this decline in authentic and prohibited graffiti, artists have channeled their work into new forms and established their own artistic community. As graffiti recently transitioned to a more respectable art form, it developed a more respectable name: street art.
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