History of Graffiti

Topics: Graffiti, New York City, Manhattan Pages: 4 (1340 words) Published: March 18, 2012
The History of Graffiti
Graffiti is a form of art involving writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall in public places. Graffiti has also existed back in the Roman Empire and Ancient Greek. During the time of the Catacombs of Rome, graffiti was known as inscriptions, figure drawing that were found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins. The earliest forms of graffiti dated back to 30,000 BCE in the form of prehistoric cave paintings and pictographs using tools such as animal bones and pigments. These illustrations were often placed in ceremonial and sacred locations inside of the caves. In today’s society graffiti is a form of art that expresses underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression. Spray paint and marker pens are just some of the materials used to created graffiti on property without the owner’s consent which can lead to a punishable crime. Graffiti is also very popular amongst the hip hop culture along with hip hop music and b-boying. The first “modern-style” graffiti was found in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. The graffiti shows a handprint that resembles a heart, along with a footprint and a number. With the hand representing “payment” this location was said to be a brothel. Unlike today’s society, graffiti had a totally different meaning during ancient times. Ancient graffiti displayed phrases of love declarations, political rhetoric, and simple words of thought compared to today's popular messages of social and political ideals. The Vesuvius epidemic preserved graffiti in Pompeii, including Latin curses, magic spells, declarations of love, alphabets, political slogans and famous literary quotes, providing insight into ancient Roman street life. Because of historic graffiti, people are able to understand the lifestyles and culture of many societies in the past. Even though graffiti was used by political activist to get their statements across, the use of it became very...
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