Is Graffiti Vandalism: Argumentative Essay

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Graffiti art is an amorphous encompassing art that is inspired by the urban environment and a radical contemporary art movement that artists used as a social expression of protest that illustrates ideas from an environmental perspective to convey political or social opinions. It involves the unauthorized spraying, painting, or scratching of words and images on buildings, bridges, streets, or any other surfaces usually in public places. It is regarded as a form of the rebellious art form. It is an evolutionary art movement that arose in New York, Berlin, and London, from the mid-1970s to the 1980s, that is closely linked with hip-hop culture and the production of elaborately designed an expression of discontent that associate selves that often use specific symbols, signatures, or ‘tags’ in their graffiti to adopt a particular style that connects an internal language within the culture interacting with the people to convey their relevant messages. Graffiti can be a springboard for the examination of personal identity, commercial design, social history, and community conflict. (Whitehead, J. L., 2015) Within the street art world, graffiti artists do not consider their artwork to be defacing public or private property, but rather see it as bringing a voice to the disempowered (Howze, 2008), beauty to an unsightly locale, or developing one’s identity through a pseudonym (Othen, P., 2006). They seek to retain the exciting, outsider, rebellious spirit that originally helped define the graffiti art revolution throughout the years. As it was a “visual representation with a unique and holistic aesthetic” (Kan, 2001, p. 21). Graffiti art is an experiment in identity, working to develop a sense of “self” as the artist progresses artistically and developmentally to express their personal visions, values, and opinions on a daily basis on the streets as their explosive platform as a graffiti artist.

Graffiti art has historically been viewed as a form of vandalism, a curious enigma, and a menace to society. Graffiti art continues to slowly gain notoriety within the walls of famous galleries and museum spaces, yet still takes a back seat to that of traditional, mainstream accepted art forms. Although it can be considered an art, it happens that some graffiti artists willfully destruct or damage a property that adds diminishing one's property value. To some particular viewers, they find any given piece of graffiti artistically irrelevant. In the world of graffiti, Manco (2002), suggests that “Graffiti art, as an idea, has always existed alongside other artist endeavors, the difference being that it is a mode of self-expression using methods that are seen as criminal, or outside the conventional art world, rather than specifically sanctioned or commissioned art” (p. 9). In our world today, graffiti artists receive negative public perceptions. The majority of the complaints are about the legality of work, diminishing public property, and the expense to remove their artworks.

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However, from a perspective of a graffiti artist, this form of art is an artistic process of establishing one’s sense of identity. Yet, this is even more so with graffiti than any other form of artistic practice because graffiti is a youth-based art form. Graffiti artists range in age from 12 to 30, with the vast majority under the age of 18. Graffiti artists create their works during the period of their lives when they are establishing themselves as separate individuals seeking autonomy. By seeking it, often through acts of rebellion, youth begin the process of establishing their own identity. It motivates them artistically discuss current events, addresses controversy, and revolution, make a statement about society as it speaks actions, and illustrates an important discussion that needs to be known. It allows them visually stimulates their mind in the complex world. They view graffiti as a demanded change in our society as well as developing their selves as an artist in our community.

Graffiti is not a type of vandalism that needs to be countered by artistic arguments. Rather, people should focus on the evolution of the perception and acceptance of graffiti as a mainstream art form that comes from established artistic concepts within our society.

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Is Graffiti Vandalism: Argumentative Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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