The Origin Of Modern Day Graffiti Essay

2485 Words Nov 28th, 2016 10 Pages
Graffiti has and always will be at the center of controversy. Key questions about ownership, vandalism, and legality of the work remain unanswered due to their convoluted twists and turns that generally leave people speechless in regards to formulating a thoughtful and educated answer. Analyzing the origin of modern day graffiti helps to provide a justification for such confusion. Graffiti is rooted in the unsanctioned use of public space; it was meant to “break boundaries and def[y] the law” (Elias). In this sense, the fundamental purpose of the art form is what makes it such a controversial topic. Because the work done is mostly unsanctioned, graffiti has been seen more as vandalism than art by pedestrians. This distinction places graffiti outside the greater public’s eye and into the eye of a smaller subculture within the public, which has formed its own set of rules. Graffiti culture has no court system or overarching body that makes judgement on graffiti artists’ conduct. Rather, the community of graffiti writers “became organized as a subculture complete with unwritten codes of conduct [rules] and hierarchies” (Waclawek 26).
Recently though, graffiti has caught the public eye as a true art form. People are seeing the artistic value in it and want to see more of it. This can be seen in the reproduction of popular graffiti in t-shirts, mugs, posters and other merchandise (Elias). Graffiti is seen less as vandalism and more as valuable additions to cityscapes. Works of…

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