Graffiti as Art

When Graffiti became more noticeable, it first was a form of vandalism. Cities became more colourful and it made graffiti an eyesore and illegal. As time has developed and the art industry has become more open, graffiti is improving in the art world and is being recognised as a form of art. When people think of graffiti, they think of images such as words, gang signs, tags or a stylised writing of a persons name. However, graffiti art is much more than that. Graffiti is a way artists, the public can express their opinions. Graffiti can be a message to society that can’t be expressed in any other way. In some cases, graffiti is there to make a statement through art.

George C. Stowers suggests that graffiti has to be considered an art form. He creates a distinction between simple tags that are made by gangs and more complicated pieces made my artists. He states that tags have no appeal to art and shouldn’t be considered as an art form. However, larger and complicated pieces that require planning and imagination and contain artistic elements like colour, shape and composition is, and should be known as art. Stowers gives the example of Wildstyle graffiti. Wildstyle graffiti contains calligraphic writing style of interlocking letters typical of graffiti, to show the extent of artistic elements that are present in these works. This can be known as art as it in a unique way of typing, using shapes and shading, which is inclusive in any art form.

Wildstyle graffiti

“Wildstyle changes with each artist’s interpretation of the alphabet. It also relies on the use of primary colours, fading, foreground and background. This is similar to an artist who paints on a canvas. So what is the difference to graffiti and art? Why are they not in the same category.

In my opinion, from articles I have read I have come to the conclusion in my mind is that graffiti is a way an artist displays their work. It is their choice to paint in a public place, for it to become more noticeable. For example, the UK artist Banksy.

Graffiti is just a way that an artist displays their work. As graffiti started out to be in public places, after years of gaining recognition by the art community, graffiti art is being shown in various galleries instead of public locations. Artists are more becoming more cautious with their work and are commissioned to do legal morals and produce their work in a gallery to stop conflict.

One of the most famous graffiti artists, Banksy, has had his work shown in galleries such as Sotheby’s in London. Even though he started out painting on the streets, as graffiti, he has become an artist. Is this wrong morally? Does this mean that graffiti are made by artists. Would his work be named as street art in oppose to graffiti? Despite his anonymity, the artist has gained tremendous popularity. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have purchased his work for a hefty price.


Some say that art is something that people are willing to pay for. This is a way that art will get recognition. Recognition by the art world and inclusion in galleries and auctions is one way that graffiti art is legitimised as “real” art. In addition, this exposure has helped the graffiti movement to become launched into the rest of the world.

A Style All Its Own

Like all other styles of art, graffiti has changed in developed due to its popularity and various different artists contributing to its style. Even its is a gang tag or a well thought out piece of art on a subway train, the movement has experienced a dramatic change. The tools and the means have changed as well. Markers were traded in for spray paint, and stencils and stickers were introduced to make pieces easier to execute in a hurry.
The messages have also evolved. Graffiti has always been somewhat political, but it has come a long way from simply tagging one’s name to parodying world leaders to make a statement.
This is further proof that graffiti is a form of art and not just a result of random acts of vandalism. The graffiti community moves in different directions and the resultant artwork moves with it.

Graffiti can be a way in which the working class can express an opinion or feeling, as they can’t express it in a more formal matter. It can be known as a voice to the government.

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