Graffiti, What is Graffiti?
What is graffiti? Graffiti is writing or images that are placed on property in public places by individuals. Today, this is most commonly done with spray paint. When it is done on property without the owner’s previous consent, then it is generally considered vandalism. Often, when graffiti is mentioned, a certain image comes to mind. One might picture old trains, bridges, and buildings covered with spray painted names, often done elaborately and in bright colors. Some people consider this a sign of urban decay and feel that graffiti is an eyesore. However, others may find that it adds a bit of color to a neighborhood.
In the past, graffiti was usually just a person or a group’s name or nickname written on a wall. This could be to mark the territory of a particular group’s influence, or it could give bragging rights to an individual who attempted to tag, or add his name to, as many items as possible. In these cases, graffiti can be harmful to the community. It can also be extremely distressing to individual members of a community when their private property is vandalized by anti-social youths.
Despite its negative past, graffiti has garnered a new reputation in recent years. Many people practicing graffiti have developed increasingly detailed and artistic styles. Instead of just the traditional scrawling of a name on a wall, some people actually create works of art in spray paint, markers, and other materials in various public places. This is referred to as street art, and certain works may become beloved within a community and are special landmarks in the area. Sometimes works of graffiti are so popular that they are left to stay even though they were done on private property without consent. Street art has become so popular that often, once a graffiti artist has established him or herself by doing illegal works of art by the cover of night, he or she may actually be commissioned by the owner of a building to produce a large work of public art. In this way, graffiti is becoming an increasingly accepted mode of expression within communities.
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