You can travel almost anywhere in the world and you will likely see graffiti. While graffiti art is generally more common in large cities, the reality is that it can occur in almost any community, large or small.
The problem with graffiti art is whether it’s really art or just vandalism. This isn’t always an easy question to answer, just because there are so many different types of graffiti. Some are simply a monochrome collection of letters, known as the label, with little artistic value. Because it is quick to produce and small, it is one of the most ubiquitous and ubiquitous forms of graffiti.
While branding is the most common type of graffiti, there are larger, more accomplished examples that appear on larger spaces, such as walls. These are often multi-colored and intricate in their design, and therefore begin to push the boundaries of whether they should really be defined as graffiti art.
If it weren’t for the fact that most graffiti is placed on private property without the owner’s permission, then it might be more recognized as a legitimate art form. However, most graffiti is just a nuisance to the owner, who is more likely to paint or remove it than to applaud its artistic merit.
Many solutions have been put into practice around the world, with varying degrees of success. Paints have been developed which cause graffiti paint to dissolve when applied, or else make it quick and easy to remove. Community groups and government departments coordinate the graffiti removal teams.
In some places, you can’t buy spray paint unless you’re over 18. In a nearby area, the local council employs someone to go around and repaint the fences damaged by graffiti. A friend of mine had his fence repainted at least 7 times, and it took him a while to figure out why this was happening! Certainly the amount of graffiti in my area has dropped significantly over the past couple of years, so it seems these methods are working to a large extent.
But isn’t the removal of graffiti doing the art community a service? Maybe if some of the people behind graffiti were taken in hand and trained, they could use their artistic skills more productively. It makes little sense to encourage these artists to degrade public property and thereby commit a crime. But maybe there are other ways to cooperate with graffiti artists rather than just pitting them against each other. Graffiti artists can create sanctioned murals for private owners and get paid for it.
Maybe we need to start at a very basic level and find a way to encourage the creation of graffiti on paper or canvas rather than on walls. After all, who would remember Monet or Picasso if they had created their masterpieces on the walls, only to have them painted the next day? Finding a solution to such a complex situation will never be easy, but as more and more graffiti is recognized in galleries around the world, we must give it a try.