Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?

Ok, I’m sure a lot of you know what graffiti is. It’s the artwork you see on walls, trains, etc. Now, when you see graffiti, you probably think it’s pretty cool. At least I do! But have you ever really thought about whether graffiti is vandalism or art? 

Technically graffiti is considered vandalism by the law and is illegal. But even though it is illegal, some people view it as artistic expression. So, I decided to ask some people their views on graffiti! I had these people vary in age, to see if the younger generation views graffiti different than older generations. 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tagging-takes-the-rap-in-graffiti-art...

Victor (48) 

“I consider it vandalism! They're destroying someone else’s property without their permission of using it.” 

 

Brittany (23) 

“Graffiti without permission is vandalism, but people also get hired to do graffiti murals/ art works in cities or towns. Even so, as long as the “illegal” graffiti isn’t crude/ inappropriate, I think sometimes it makes the area it’s in look cooler and more interesting. Even though it would technically be vandalism, I wouldn’t consider it the same kind of horrible vandalism as destructing property in other ways."

 

Theresa (52) 

“I think graffiti used in expression is great as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone emotionally! It may help an individual who does it and also others who view it.” 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/486670303456924453

Anna (18) 

“I think for vandalism, it depends on what type. If people are making paintings or writing something motivational or creating something beautiful, it is art. But if something is writing something nasty or alluding to something negative or drugs then it is vandalism. I just think that it could be hard for some people to draw the line between the two to determine if it is art or vandalism causing a controversy.” 

 

Bobby (52) 

“Graffiti is an art form if it’s done in approved public space, either commissioned or done with someone’s consent. It should be illegal if it damages property. See the photo above, that’s an alley down the street from my office, in Central Square Cambridge.” 

 

Joseph (19) 

“Sure, I think street graffiti on houses and cars, and everything is vandalism. It’s someone painting over something else someone else worked really hard for and it kind of takes away from the value and that person’s hardwork. If it’s commissioned, I think it’s OK. Like if a city pays someone for it on a mural because then it’s art that someone’s requesting.” 

https://www.baltimoremagazine.com/section/artsentertainment/ernest-shaw-...

Abie (18) 

“My personal opinion is graffiti can be something beautiful. However, tagging is much different. Tagging is a form of marking usually someone's name or even a gang sign. I feel tagging is a form of disrespect and vandalism, where graffiti is a way of art and personal expression. Although graffiti is illegal, I believe it is a form of artwork and can turn a dull structure into something beautiful.” 

 

Emma (18) 

“I personally think it depends on what the graffiti is. If it’s this big huge mural on some abandoned building then I would consider it art because no one‘s using that building. But on the other hand, if it’s gang signs and swear words everywhere on everyday things that people use, I would consider that vandalism. Pretty much if people are considerate of their surroundings and don’t do it to harm anybody then it’s art.” 

 

Angela (73) 

“Vandalism. Unless somebody asked you to do it. It’s illegally coloring the walls.” 

 

Debbie (48) 

“It depends on where it is. It depends on what it is. You know, if it's vulgar on the side of a school, that’s one thing. But if it’s like a work of art on a place where it’s supposed to be then that’s another thing.” 

http://shineandhumm.com/2018/03/09/comuna-13-most-dangerous-neighbourhoo...

You can tell that no matter the age, most people feel as though graffiti can be either art of vandalism, depending on a few factors. It depends on where the graffiti is done, what the artwork is on, and whether they got permission or not! 

For me personally, I think graffiti is something beautiful that people can do! Yes, I agree that if it is vulgar and on private owned property then it is vandalism. But if it is on an abandoned building, and does not discriminate against anyone, and is not vulgar, then it is artwork. Especially if someone is payed to put a beautiful piece of art on a building. Like the picture of the pit bulls on a warehouse, that beautiful mural was paid for. 

So, what are your opinions on graffiti?