The word graffiti is basically used to refer to a form of art that involves making of images, scrawls, scratches or painting letters on surfaces in various ways. It has been in existence for years. The use of graffiti has sparked debate from two camps. It is regarded both as unsightly and unwanted by critics who claim that defacing anything under the pretext of graffiti is simply a form of vandalism while its supporters claim that it is a worthy way of displaying their messages. Introduction
Graffiti traces its history to the ancient Greece and the Roman Emperor. It has since evolved from a simple scratch to the modern spray paints and markers. Graffiti has been used to pass social and political messages for quite along time. But though used as such, it still remains an illegal practice in most countries in the world. This has led to a lot of protests and debates from simple artists and scholars alike on whether to legalize it or not. Questions on the safety of the society with legalized graffiti form headlines in such debates.
This essay will therefore try to state reasons why graffiti should be left to be in our societies due to its numerous positive impacts that surpass the negatives. Reasons to Support Graffiti • To Preserve Memories The graffiti that are put on stone carvings can stay for years and years to help pass a message to the future generation on how the history of some ancestral practices. A massage that could have required several words to explain can just be put in a single drawing using graffiti.
These practices helped revolutionary soldiers to curve their names as well as those of them who died during the war on monuments for remembrance. Cultures have developed and traditions have been preserved, thanks to the graffiti practice. To add onto this it is also reported in (Reda Joseph, 2006) that those countries that are actively involved in the promotion of graffiti have even earned themselves international recognition for example Brazil, which boasts of unique and rich graffiti scenes This has made the country to be considered a centre of inspiration for modern graffiti artists (Lost Art & Caleb Neelon, 2007, 7).
• Source of Income The art has been used for decades and decades for the economic advantage of its players. Those individuals that need to have some information sent to the public, or want to uplift the facial look of their premises, cars or any other asset of theirs have to part with some money in return for the services done to them. The artists in this case have therefore benefited a great deal from such payments. There have been reported cases of schools being established to teach those who aspire to have graffiti as a professional course.
This has in turn made the instructors to change the societal perception of graffiti apart from gaining from the payments of the courses. The spread escalated in the years 1960s when it was incorporated in the hip hop, rap and rock culture by the then artist (Peter Shapiro) . With this positive reception of the graffiti culture, a lot of exhibitions have been organized leading to staggering sums of money for the artists as well as organizers. Graffiti culture has been picked up by almost everyone in the society.
Reported of late in most if not all countries is the graffiti sported on buildings, trains and cars. This shows that the business is not just about to fade away, but needs to be embraced in the modern society then defined well enough to fit perfectly in any given modern setting. This spread has also led to a newly founded wave of creativity and a more professional approach to graffiti. Graffiti also sparks innovation. With the emerging nature of competition in the practice, only technology can help one artist to ride over the others.
Modern experimentation has seen the incorporation of some additional arts and technologies as those seen in the graffiti writers in the latest media, where they use projected images and magnetic light emitting diodes (K. Varnedoe and A. Gopnik, 1991). • Radical and Political Use For the voiceless, the oppressed, the socially challenged and all these people who feel disadvantaged in one way or another, graffiti offers a way out to help them address their views. Graffiti is just one tool of expressing resistance to a system of for example governance.
In 1990s, graffiti resurfaced with a new look and a refreshed objective, it became more focused on political matters more than social oppression. • Academic and other Uses of Graffiti Contemporary analysts as well as art critics both agree on the artistic value of graffiti and are acquainted with it as a public art which making it a basic necessity for social emancipation or for achievement of a political goals. In case of a conflict in the society, graffiti can be used to bring dialogue and address cleavage between the warring groups.
The Belfast and Los Angeles murals have been used to this effect to offer a mode of “communication and self expression” for those who feel ethnically, socially and racially alienated. Campaigns against moral degradation or any other unaccepted social practice can easily be done using graffiti. When coupled with a bit of stenciling of one or more colors the, the message appears more concrete. This form of advance graffiti was used by artists like Mathangi Arulpragasam, John Fekner and Lucy Lippard, to address decaying environmental concern, political and social issues in their times.
Conclusion The life of all human beings is influenced by three main factors: that is, the need to act in a socially accepted manner, to do what one feels good about at that particular time and to maximize ones resources. Without motivating people to act responsibly in any social setting, the first two factors become top priorities. These are the reasons why graffiti has taken a strong root in the current society and has made a stable foundation; instead of just fading away it is seen to be spreading with time.
Graffiti has helped people who seek anonymity, but want to give out an opinion to the public on a sensitive matter. Since permanent graffiti is considered a criminal offense, one can resort to the use of non-permanent paints to make it hard for the police to apprehend. Because after all there is a possibility that such temporary graffiti can as well last for a long time than even the permanent works depending on how the community view the artist’s work. Graffiti has evolved to an elaborate painting of letters which is taken as a complete art form with its own aesthetics, particularly the graffiti murals.
But it still faces a major opposition from several quarters, from those who treat it as public nuisance…to them; it means to deface the good landscape and degrades the community. And the fact that it is illegal makes it unpopular in the eyes of the public. The commercial billboards and numerous advertisements that are spotted in the public space have to be considered if graffiti should be banned. And if the relevant authorities claim that such companies who own them pay tax, then they need to allow graffiti on walls if graffiti artists can find some sponsors like stores, restaurants and other businesses.
Or alternatively, such authorities should just let the so called “public spaces” be made use of by graffiti without charging them. As a final remark, it can be said that, yes! Graffiti is a revolution, and just like any other revolution it might be taken to be a criminal offense. But it also has to be in everyone’s mind that people who are oppressed, depressed or suppressed require an outlet, and graffiti offers them this. So let these people write on walls.
Just like clearing the homeless off the streets is not sustainable solution homelessness, erasing graffiti in itself is an act in futility. (Sara Rudin) Work Cited “Art Crimes” by Sara Rudin: http://www. wm. edu/so/jump/spring96/graffiti. html. “Is the Writing on the Wall for Graffiti”, PR News Wire (2004-07-28). And “Jail for leader of graffiti gang”. BBC News (2008-07-11). Retrieved on 21st November, 2008. En Cams “A History of Graffiti in Its Own Words”, New York Magazine: Press release. K. Varnedoe and A. Gopnik.
“High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1991. Lost Art & Caleb Neelon: “Graffiti Brazil”. London: Thames and Hudson, 2005, 7. Peter Shapiro: “Rough Guide to Hip Hop”, 2nd. ed. , London: Rough Guides, 2007. Reda, Joseph (April 25, 2006). “Bill/Resolution: O06037”. County Council: Passed Legislation. Council of New Castle County, Delaware: Retrieved on 21st November 2008. Thematic strategy on the urban environment — European Parliament resolution on the thematic strategy on the urban environment (2006/2061(INI))