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Graffiti

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Every piece of art has a meaning behind it, whether it be obvious or a little more vague. Graffiti is just another way for people to express themselves through art. Nobody got mad at Michelangelo when he painted all over the Sistine Chapel, and nobody called it vandalism. Although some say it is vandalism rather than art, graffiti should be considered art because it takes time, emotion, and creativity, just like any good painting, the only difference being the canvas. If graffiti shouldn’t be considered art, then tell me, why are there museums and art galleries that display it as art? While painting in museums has its benefits, such as money, fame, and the chance of having your art noticed by a different crowd; most artists would still prefer to paint throughout the city, in places such as on freight cars, the sides of buildings, or in an alley somewhere. “There’s just something about it”, says MONE, a graffiti writer from New York City.
“Every new wave of art has to start somewhere; our generation’s art just happened to start on a wall.” Graffiti hit the scene in the 1970’s, and exploded immediately. In 1971, a group of kids in New York, almost none over the age of nineteen, developed an art form that went from a simple signature on a wall, all the way up to a mural that covered the entire side of a train by 1975.
Graffiti is the voice of the streets; an “underground” way of communication, though recently, it has become more mainstream. Some artists say it’s lost its meaning, and the newer artists are just in it for the money. ”It used to be about getting whatever was in your head out,” says SERVANT, another artist, “That’s what I want to bring back.”
It takes time to perfect these murals. Some Wildstyle works, a type of graffiti, can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to perfect, depending on the experience of the writer. If someone puts this much time and effort into something, why would you label it as vandalism and paint over it? “It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle” Says MONE.
If someone does something just for the money, and their heart isn’t in it, then the meaning behind that piece of art is lost. Take Andy Warhol, a pop culture artist, for example, he got to where he’d have other people do art for him, and he’d just put his name on it. Do you think there’s as much meaning behind those as there would be if he had done it himself? Now take Van Gogh as another example, he went through certain periods in his life where he felt depressed, happy, alone, etc. and his artwork reflected that. That shows the emotion behind art. He sold one painting in his lifetime; there’s no way he was in it for the money. The colors of the murals and tags express the artists’ feelings toward what they’re painting about. The shapes of the letters and the characters or backgrounds, as well as the words they use, can express how they feel.
Artists have to be creative when painting, because they don’t want to paint something that’s already been painted by someone else. Everyone has their own style. There are hundreds of styles of graffiti that people have taken and put their own twists on.
Artists use what they can to paint on, to get their messages across to as many people as they can. It may be better painting inside a museum, but let’s be honest, less people will see it. People see what’s outside the buildings, not what’s on the inside.
Graffiti can help some people through tough times in their lives, because they can say exactly what’s on their minds, and it can be so hard to read that only experienced writers can read it. So, they feel like they’ve got their point across to someone, and that may be exactly what they needed. It’s a way of venting; an escape from reality. It’s the writers’ way of expressing their emotions.
In conclusion, graffiti should be considered art because it takes time, emotion, and creativity, just like any good painting. The only difference between graffiti and what some call “fine art” is the canvas. Some of the graffiti murals are even better than most “fine art”, and it takes more time and creativity than some of the paintings by artists who paint on canvas. So where do you stand on the question, is graffiti art or vandalism?

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