When one thinks of graffiti it is generally with a negative stigma. What most people are not aware of is that graffiti has adopted a culture of its own. There are many different styles of graffiti that are present today. The music industry has adopted the art form and uses it to promote their works. When one thinks of hip-hop they immediately think of tag signs and the rebels. Music videos promote graffiti as a stance against all that is wrong with society. It is not to say that all graffiti that is done is done with honorable intent.
The music industry and propelled graffiti to more homes across the world. They use this art form as labels for their products, and use it as a promotional tool. This does not mean that graffiti is now seen as a marketing tool, but it did help lessen the stigma behind it. But actual graffiti that is done on the streets by people is still viewed negatively.
Graffiti, unlike many other art forms, is seen in a negative light because most of it is done illegal. The stances behind it could be noble, but the act itself is not always so. Business owners constantly remove graffiti from their walls to make their businesses presentable, and that is where the war on graffiti originates from. Most of the graffiti that is placed can be seen as meaningless, but that does not mean that all forms of graffiti is meaningless. This is what causes individuals to lose the respect for the art, because those who don’t truly appreciate it, practice it.
Graffiti is not associated with a single ethnicity either. All ethnicities practice this form of expression, but it is known that majority of those who practice are younger, most likely in their teenage years. This form of expression is done by those who are talented enough to create works of art, so as long as the individual is talented enough, then race does not matter.
Graffiti has existed for decades, and it shows no signs of ending in the near future. This art form constantly is growing and evolving, promoting graffiti murals to be adopted into many cities. Those who truly appreciate and practice this art form are passionate about what they create. They do not simply “tag”, the act of signing ones name, which is a common form of graffiti, but they send messages that resonate with people. People need to understand the true meaning behind graffiti before they begin to judge it.
Graffiti is applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition. Graffiti is a term that is derived from the Greek term “Graphien”, which means to write.
As stated earlier in the text, there are different styles of graffiti. There is individualized or popular graffiti, which is primarily done as “tagging”, amusing comments, and promoting political agendas. There is gang graffiti which is used primarily in urban areas. This form of graffiti might not be understandable to many people who pass by it. They use cryptic codes and symbols that would only be meaningful to that community. The type of graffiti they create could be associated to a specific gang, and this allows them to label themselves as part of a specific group or gang. Then there is the main form of graffiti which is commonly used as “hip-hop” or “New York Style” graffiti that derives from a tradition of subway graffiti that originated in New York during the 1970’s. This form of popular graffiti is not widely known as “New York” graffiti because it has traveled to such a vast amount of people. Many cities in the World don’t have access to the same subway system that New York has established so anything that can be painted becomes a canvas. This is the most known form of graffiti and has traveled to urban centers across the USA and the rest of the world. It originated in New York and was traditionally done in the subway system which gave it the name “New York” style. During the 1980’s however, security was increased and subway graffiti began to die out. Trains that were covered significantly with graffiti were taken out the line and replaced with new ones. The last train to be removed off the line was in 1989. Those who use the subway system now will notice that here is hardly any graffiti on any of the trains. The heighted security did not mean that the practice was completely discouraged, but all it meant was that these artists needed to find a new way of creating their art.
Graffiti artists began to use anything with a flat surface to help spread their art and message. This form of graffiti also promotes a crew mentality. Artists join together to create truly amazing works of art. This has allowed graffiti to become stored in museums and viewed by more individuals who can appreciate the practice. The simplified imagery of graffiti has also become attractive to certain professionalized fine artists, such as the work of Keith Haring in particular who helped from this art form from subway walls to the walls of galleries.
It is thanks to this movement that young artists have began to adopt it as a way to express themselves. They use it to show the inequalities that exist in this world today. They use to express their views in a way that can reach others with whatever they have access too. The world becomes their canvas and their message becomes their art. This art form needs to be decriminalized so more youth can create works of art that can be appreciated by more people.