User:Martinirebel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Nowadays if people talk about graffiti, most frequently they mean something negative, regard it as vandalism. Not many people ever seem to be inspired by such kind of street art.

However, graffiti, whether on walls, trains, or buildings, is art.

Graffiti has been used for years. It began from drawing on walls by the cavemen, continued as the claiming of cities by the ancient Romans. It also has given cities a unique flare. For people graffiti is a way to express themselves and show their imagination and creativity.



Janisorlando [Public domain]

According to the author of a book about graffiti Cameron McAuliffe, “graffiti is a part of life and gives the city its own urban originality and flare”. McAuliffe states that “graffiti in its various forms has become a perennial feature of life at the edges of the contemporary city”. For instance, in Seattle, San Francisco, and Sydney it is a way of life. Tourists come in and out of the city and their lives change.

Like all other artistic forms, graffiti has experienced movements/changes in style: from the first tag scribbled on a subway train to the large, complex mural on a billboard. The tools and the means have changed as well. For instance, to make pieces easier to execute in a hurry stencils and stickers were introduced.

The messages have also evolved. Graffiti has always been somewhat political, but it has come a long way from simply tagging one’s name to parodying world leaders to make a statement. This is also a proof that graffiti is a form of art, not just a result of random acts of vandalism.

People are used to seeing graffiti works of art in public spaces, after all, that’s what makes it graffiti. After years of gaining recognition by the art community, graffiti has been shown in various galleries in New York and London. Artists are often commissioned to do legal murals and other work for art shows.


aikijuanma from Barcelona, Spain [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

One of the most famous graffiti artists is Banksy. His works were shown in such galleries as Sotheby’s in London. Despite his anonymity, the British artist has gained tremendous popularity. A lot of celebrities purchase his works for hefty price.

Art comes in various forms. Of course, there are people who appreciate and take the meaning of graffiti as an art form seriously. Graffiti art can be no different from a Monet because it is open for individual interpretation, has the meaning and should not be looked down upon just because its canvas on which the piece is placed is different.


AUTHOR || Elizabeth Tikhomirova  @eli_daizy