Graffiti: Vandalism or Art?

Graffiti: Vandalism or Art?

Kaya Perry, Silver Streams Co-Editor

There’s an ongoing debate on whether or not graffiti should be considered art. Some argue that it can’t be art because it’s vandalism, while others say that it can be both. Personally, I believe that although it is vandalism, it’s also a form of art.

Art teacher Mrs. Pantuso said, “It’s art because it makes a statement.”

The definition of art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Since graffiti is writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place, then it should be considered a form of art.

Abbey Royer, an art student at Carolina Forest, said, “[Graffiti] is art when you use it to tell a story.”

Just because graffiti is put on surfaces illicitly does not mean it’s not art. Anything can be considered art as long as it has meaning behind it. There are people who use visual arts to express themselves because they can’t find a way to do it verbally, so they may use graffiti as a method to do so. Sometimes the stories behind graffiti are more important than the unlawful place it was put.

Although most graffiti is illegal and considered vandalism, there are people who commission graffiti to bring life to a scene. Murals are an example of such work. A mural can tell the history of a building or town and it helps make it visually aesthetic. Downtown Conway has several murals found on many of their oldest buildings. These murals may not be spray paint, but graffiti can be used for this purpose.

Mrs. Norris, an art teacher at CF, shared, “Graffiti is art for the most part. Some people abuse the power of graffiti, but if used correctly, it can be used to make a scene look brighter.”

There are many teenagers who get their hands on spray paint and think that they’re instantly artists because they can paint an explicit word or their name on a random wall.  That’s when the power of graffiti is abused. Graffiti is supposed to be used as a voice to catch people’s attention.

All in all, graffiti can be considered art as long as it’s used for the right purpose. If it’s posing as a voice for a person or group, then it is most definitely art.