Graffiti, art or vandalism? my take
On www.duncancumming.co.uk you can follow the story of how a graffiti artist in Scotland got caught and was about to spend 28 month in prison for vandalism. This brings up the eternal question, is graffiti an art or is it vandalism?
That graffiti is art is no question, the use of color, lettering and communication is exactly what art is all about. Look at some of the stencils and pieces by the biggest street artists, they actually deliver a message.
That graffiti is vandalism is an understandable point as well. I wouldn’t like to wake up one morning and find my newly renovated house covered in a graffiti piece. No matter how nice it is it may just not fit with the deco that I chose for the place.
It needs to be done intelligently for everyone’s benefit. A graffiti piece can totally decorate an appropriate location. See this photo for example. It may or may not be authorized graffiti, but it fits the urban area. Try doing this on the Louvre and yes, that would be vandalism.
The graffiti sort of “protects” the wall from being covered in all sorts of other crap. Additionally this fits the young people that hang out in the area and they don’t mind it.
If a street artist places his pieces intelligently it actually doesn’t harm but can help. Where it becomes stupid is when the Graffiti guys just do it for the adrenaline (yes I know it is part of the kick). There has to be a balance.
And if an artist did vandalise a wall, then pull him by the scruff of the neck and get him to spend his night cleaning it up and repainting it at his cost, he can take responsibility for what he did. Trying to jail someone for 28 month for graffiti is lame, that is the work of someone who is so lazy that he can’t even make him fix what he did wrong.
I know that is the way because I went that way and the most efficient way to make a bad thing into a good thing is to take responsibility for what one has done and use the effort to become more competent and help others. I saw how many former street artists of my time became graphic designers, well that’s a great way to use the skill.
And here is a short video on how that can be done…
Feel free to comment, and vote.