Graffiti: Art or Disrespectful?

Graffiti cement barrier. Looking out on One World Trade Center.

I tend to like things neat and tidy, but I also appreciate art and character. I don’t know that I consider graffiti art. I’ve never known an actual graffiti “artist”, so I’ve had no one to help me solidify the answer. The closest I’ve come is the random guy at an artist street fair who makes cool poster size prints from spray paint. They usually have a painters mask on while little kids sit right in front, breathing the fumes as their parents stare in fascination.

Back to graffiti; I won’t say I’m not intrigued by it. It’s hard not to draw your eyes from random splashes of color in places amongst plain brick or cement backdrops. There are times that I appreciate color on a decrepit and crumbling wall, in the form of a beautiful mural. There are also times I see spray paint on two hundred year old marble steps or beautiful historic facades. I want to bean the “artist’ several times with some full spray cans. I made that sound a little more pleasant than what I wanted to say.

I spend a lot of time wandering old areas of a city, in this case you’ll see Brooklyn, but Philadelphia is my usual playground. Areas that have history and are broken-in are appealing, and these surroundings tend to have a lot more graffiti than an upscale and modern part of town. I capture a lot of tagged surroundings because it’s real, even if I don’t really understand why these taggers think they have the right to deface property that isn’t theirs. Quite contradictory I suppose, because I give them the attention they crave in the process. I don’t believe they are out of outlets to practice their art, as much as it is a dominance and public display of ego in many cases.

I’d be interested to hear your take on what you think of graffiti.

3 thoughts on “Graffiti: Art or Disrespectful?

  1. Art is what you produce on your own wall, or your own blog, or your own canvas. Graffiti is, by its nature, criminal vandalism. My opinion, of course, but then I tend to be the old fashioned bype of person who believes that if you spend several thousand dollars on a block wall you shouldn’t have it decorated without your permission by someone you never met.

  2. Pingback: Firm opinions about art from a rather wishy-washy old broad « afterthecommercial

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