Essay on Graffiti: Art or Vandalism

1443 Words Mar 25th, 2014 6 Pages
Most people can argue that there is a fine distinction between what is recognized as art and vandalism. The individual is often faced with uncertainty when the topic of graffiti arises. The public often portray graffiti as a destructive act towards his or her surroundings however; graffiti can also be considered a form of self-expression. Many questions can be made pertaining to the graffiti movement, but the main question is graffiti a crime or an art? The answers lie in the complex phrase of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
Graffiti portrays contemporary sub-cultured art through its versatility and bold attractiveness on the communal grounds. In the 1970s, graffiti was blatantly acknowledged as territorial graffiti where
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The 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop portrayed the vitality of street art subculture featuring the works of LA-based street artist Shepard Fairey, who is well known for his “Obey” campaigns. (253) The attributing collective pieces of artist Invader in the Space Invaders video game have also given that attention of street art towards the public eye. The movement of street art and graffiti has not only gained acknowledgment through film, but also through a formalized setting such as museum exhibits. The Museum of Contemporary Art showcased one of the first street art exhibits, “Art in the Streets” in Los Angeles in 2011, which changed the history of the museum attracting more eyes in the public. (Mettler 253) The movement of street art has now evolved into a dignified way of expressing an artist’s purpose through the media that has embraced the rawness and uniqueness of this art form.
Before graffiti was recognized as a form of art, it was familiarized as territorial graffiti or vandalism by an individual graffitist or “tagger” to gain recognition from other graffitists. Graffitist’s motives were highly driven by the idea “of being ‘king’ of a subway line” (137) and the respectable street credit that came along with the title. It was not about the creative aspects involved in the piece or

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