I have seen all types of graffiti; Latin Kings gang tags on rain road electrical boxes, to planned and beautiful wall art at Oak Street beach in Chicago. I’ve met people that paint graffiti illegally; I live in Chicago where graffiti thrive, so I feel it’s safe to say I’m immersed in the art. I appreciate it because I don’t assume all of it is corrupt, I see the message they are trying to convey. Recently, graffiti artists have come under serious attack by the media and authority officials who claim that their work is vandalism. Graffiti is art no matter the message or the place it exists. Points that I will argue in this paper include gangs ruining the image of the art, selfless artists, the message art can hold, and society not adapting to graffiti yet. Graffiti is a positive thing, but some have found a way to use in against the people that it is intended for.
There is no doubt that gang graffiti brings pain and violence to neighborhoods. To justify it as art I must refer to one of Oxford English Dictionary’s definitions of art, “An acquired ability of any kind: a skill at doing a specified thing, typically acquired through study and practice; a knack,” (1). According to the definition gang graffiti falls under the category of art, because gang graffiti can be very complex and intricate; something I could not draw personally unless I was taught. And because of this it is a skill “acquired through study and practice.” Art is not exclusively for the moral. Yes gang graffiti is art, but it should be taken down and not to be ever confused or associated with Graffiti that is trying to better our society and communities. To make this distinction there will be gray areas and thin lines no doubt, but I am almost certain anyone can differentiate a Latin Kings tag from a well done mural by Diego Rivera. The gangs that write these tags are only thinking of themselves to spread their gang, but generous graffiti artists exist. I see graffiti artists to be...
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