Essay Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?
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Art: the ultimate form of self expression. But, what constitutes an art? And, who decides? These very questions plague society as it tries to decide and define the official status of graffiti--art or vandalism? Because it has found its way into art galleries and because of the community of artists who challenge and inspire each other, graffiti should be considered art and as a way to express oneself.
The origin and history of graffiti is not what one might expect. Believed to have been created by a Philadelphia high school student named Cornbread in 1967, it was a bold effort to catch the attention of a girl (De Melker). In this same time period, graffiti sprung up in New York as well. It was “one among many forms of social protest” during…show more content…
Many cities view graffiti as dirty and worthless; for example, the city of San Antonio has arranged an anti-graffiti campaign in which the city boldly states “graffiti is ugly” (“Graffiti”). This attitude towards graffiti and the obsession with ridding cities of graffiti sparked the ever-present negative outlook on the craft, spoiling its artistic value.
This negative shadow on the art form of graffiti has caused the decline of the graffiti movement. As many have predicted, “graffiti may eventually disappear” (“The Writing's on the Wall; Graffiti”). Graffiti has already begun to dwindle from what was once a flourishing art movement, to an almost disesteemed hobby. However, a soiled reputation is not the only culprit in the murder of authentic graffiti. The occupation of the current generation with technology and social media has caused many artists to focus solely on selling their work and gaining attention through social networking platforms. Another, perhaps more common, reason for the decline is the improvement of police work and punishments for those indulging in the illegal form of graffiti (“The Writing's on the Wall; Graffiti”). Because of this decline in authentic and prohibited graffiti, artists have channeled their work into new forms and established their own artistic community. As graffiti recently transitioned to a more respectable art form, it developed a more respectable name: street art.
Los Angeles is the most densely inhabited city in the state of California, and stands in second place after New York City, as the most populous in America. Most people in the city socialize mostly through cultural traditions and arts that are mainly practiced in the area. These arts form the basis of communication and expressions whether political or social. That being a few of the forms of expression graffiti is being widely used in the city. This form of art is employed as a means of social and political expression. The reason as to why young people use this form of avenue is that it is quite public and will relay the message. The fact that they are not provided with platforms to express themselves is another key issue to be addressed. In this paper, discussion on ways through which this work of art expresses the social and political issues in relation to Los Angeles will follow suit.
The city holds a history rich of arts and culture that has attracted millions of tourists from all over the world many years ago. In fact, the city’s greater area represents the most important site for television and movie production in the whole of the U.S. Other works of art related to Los Angeles include literature, music, museums, architecture, paintings, and street art, just to mention a few. Wordings; Graffiti artists use certain terms like crews, bombing, taggers these form a characteristic of graffiti traditions, although significantly, this type of dialect is to the idea that the whole culture is associated to the wider American customs that we are a components. Culture and language cannot be separated; culture creates language and the language creates culture. This distinct language is a preserve for graffiti tradition members and can be learnt through participation or continuous exposure to tag culture. This tag language is one form that graffiti is used to express social issues. The present graffiti words are obtained from the daily social life, the comments, phallic symbols, the jokes. Such graffiti is written in a common language so that individuals can comprehend, in addition to, partake in its humor or react in kind (Phillips, 47). The second category is images; in the context of community-based graffiti; these graffiti look like vivacious characters and vibrant texts. They have an origin in hip-hop culture and were selected because of its ability to both isolate, and form an interconnected faction that replicate current social issues in Los Angeles. It reflects a culture that is emerging in the society; it is ingrained in clothes, music, and dialect. The style was a preferred method, and individuals who create these images were part of the society that is influenced by the occurrence of these descriptions. Graffiti carried out by Gang is the type that is emphasizes a lot of the communal identification that this expressive means may value. However, the power that this illustrations yield, is usually disregarded. Graffiti expressing political notions is founded in interior representation by which negative political thoughts are channeled. These types of graffiti are mostly employed through activism movements in times of political protests; they have the ability to induce an emotional response, whether good or bad from their targeted audience. Objects, images and social conducts that contain a common implication among communities stand to unite the people. Under graffiti, the art has stood as a representation of opposition and a common dissatisfaction with current social certainty.
Ancient graffiti expressed love affirmations, social opinions and simple terminology of the notion in comparison to current popular information of societal and political standards as seen in the streets of Los Angeles (Phillips, 46). This is the same as in today’s world. Graffiti has been commercialized and is gaining popularity while others are seeking its legitimization. In 2001, IBM a large computer firm instigated a movement in Chicago, and San Francisco, which was advertising peace the campaign primarily, involved the community spray work of art on pavements the given symbols to illustrate “Peace, Love, and Linux.” However, because of the law which states that graffiti art is illegal the act saw the artists detained and prosecuted with damage charges, in addition to the repair costs, and penalty measures, IBM Company was fined more than US$120,000. In Los Angeles, Sony instigated same advertising campaign in 2005 and other cities, but this time taking into consideration the legal challenges of the IBM campaign. Sony compensated proprietors for the privileges to paint on their properties; portraits of dizzy-eyed city kids gathering, who were imitating a skateboard, a paddle or a rocking horse using PSP gadget. The two campaigns are an expression of an application of graffiti as a means in passing information, which the society does not approve to some extent. The war is clearly illustrated in Los Angeles, where two people were shot dead by the graffiti artist when they tried to stop them from doing what they love best. . Another social aspect is the growth of computer gaming depicting the art largely. These is to the positive aspect of the art, for example, the jet set radio program (2000–2003) shows the story of an assembly of youths fighting the subjugation of an authoritarian police that seeks to hinder the graffiti artists’ liberty of expression. Frequently, graffiti is reputed as an element of a culture that seeks to rebel against authority and laws in general as seen in the state where a certain group brands themselves and seek to warn visitors of their presence. What in my perspective makes the art wrong is the fact that most vandals are young people, ranging from young school going to youths, who vandalize public spaces for invalid reasons such as boredom, anger or revenge. For successful artists, ideas that perform this art often diverge and can illustrate a wide array of approaches and perceptions.
Most artist use materials such as paints and sprays, these sprays have a negative effect on the surroundings because of the fact that it contains. Harmful chemical elements like chlorofluorocarbons or volatile hydrocarbon gases are contained in the paints used for graffiti in painting a surface. These are harmful to the environment, and will continue to worsen the global warming situation in the world. Alternatively, moss graffiti can be adopted which will use moss, which is more environmental friendly to create the images or the wordings. The mixture is prepared through gluing moss unto a plane by mixing beer milk or yoghurt to serve as an adhesive for the art. These efforts of making the situation more environment friendly does not justify the fact that each year, in the clean up exercise of graffiti, large amounts are accounted for.
The society can approve a policy less lenient for destruction and instead provide an avenue or a place designed specifically for these artists to express themselves. Arresting them will only make the condition worse and they will continue to spend cleaning up the streets. On the other hand, with the already tarnished streets, what the locals need to do is first; to identify objects and locations prone to graffiti, and educate property owners effective and efficient of cleaning the places. Participants in these forums will mostly include property owners affected by graffiti, recreational facilities public works, shopping malls, schools, government, businesses, and other institutions. This will resolve the crisis in the short period; in the end, they can construct their buildings with hard to write on bricks or plant shrubs and hedges. Improved lighting and cooperation of the community and the authority will solve their so-called problem.
Looking at an artist’s perspective bring us to understand why they are so passionate about the art. Certain anthropologists explain that the art is an expression of one’s ideas and ideals. It goes beyond just the images and is mostly a representation of political ideas, race and art. This passion goes beyond fear of being caught, which has made a blog that highlights these paintings as being top five most viewed sights. I must say that these pieces of art is quite eye-catching and has its own beauty. The artists also are said to have a distinction between street art and graffiti basing the difference in that the artist signs graffiti while the street art is simply a form of expression, which is often done randomly. These facts also lead us to asking the question is the form of art an unnecessary struggle. I believe when one wants to pursue something he should go for it. Being a true believer means one is not swayed by the changing world, but one should also consider doing it peacefully. Overall, the art can signify liberation, love or territory. What the artist need is to make the community understand from their point of view. Successful artists in this field have received awards to prove that the entire art is not a negative vice and can be displayed in museums. In other words, it can be a visual method of communication with these it would play as both an art and a mode of communication to the users. Being an old form of art goes to show it has its form of justification and is not all negative (Ganz, and Tristan, 98).
A closer insight to the teenagers responsible for this form of art these explain that graffiti delineates the effect neighborhood, politics, and culture that is the society in general have on the day today activities of these teenagers. Most outstanding thing of this insight being the spirit, pride and allegiance that are expressed through in the voices of the said teenagers. This is not a glorification or the justification of gang behavior, but we rather perceive it as an objective that focuses on a specific social group that is not readily featured in the mainstream media and is trying to reach out. Gangs are not prevalent in many communities; my hope is that concerned parties would be enlightened, through various channels to be able to communicate with this group of a generation that is in need of help.
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Filed under: Example Papers — Tags: art essay, essay on graffiti, essay on Los Angeles, research paper on graffiti — Joan Young @ 10:33 am