When it comes to the hot topic of graffiti it seems we are split in our thinking. You either love it or you hate it and you’re unlikely to change your mind. Still illegal, it was only recognised as an art form in the 70s and 80s and since then it seems to have grown in popularity in countries all around the world. Here are two different opinions – which camp do you fall in?
Graffiti is a great example of how you don’t need to go to Art College or be hugely wealthy to display a really impressive talent for art. It’s modern and fresh and it is a really great way of a city showing off its vibrancy. There’s nothing like arriving in a city by train to be greeted by a display of the talents of some of its inhabitants.
Many young artists started out doing graffiti and went on to become really successful artists in their own right. Graffiti gave them the chance to hone their skills and in the meantime gave the people of their city some free artwork! Yes ok sometimes graffiti is less than perfect but these are all aspiring artists that have to start somewhere. We’re not talking about basic tagging here; we’re talking about murals, slogans and iconic images.
Graffiti is illegal which means that artists take huge personal risk in offering us this work. If caught they face prosecution but that’s not enough to put them off – they have something to say. They also know that their artwork is likely to be removed as quickly as it appears but they are willing to take that chance.
Do you really want to live in a world where someone as great as Banksy is considered to be a vandal?
Graffiti is a scourge on our cities and is a blatant act of vandalism. What right do these people have to paint and draw on other people’s property? In any other circumstances it would be considered downright rude but for some reason graffiti has been glamorised, perhaps because of the rare stories of Banksy art being sold for millions.
Yes there may be some talented art amongst the rubbish but this is the sort of thing that belongs on canvas not on the side of a wall – it’s so disposable. Walls are not the place for artists to carry out their work. Do you think that Picasso or Rembrandt would be revered these days if they had put their artwork on walls? No – it would be long gone!
It’s simple really – if you want to paint then buy your own canvas, don’t steal other people’s.
Whichever way you swing it seems to be that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people see nothing but beauty and art in graffiti and others see it as ugly vandalism, but there’s no doubt that it creates some very good discussion either way.
And that’s probably what the artist wanted to achieve!
Article by Johan Costa
This post was written by Johan Costa from Lump sculpture studio. His company works on residential, commercial as well as on civic art projects.