Graffiti: A Crime or a Work of Art?

Origins of graffiti

It is arguable where the true origin of graffiti originated from, but Philadelphia is where it started. This form of art is used to express different feelings of the creator and allows them to do this through spray painting different aspects of art. Graffiti doesn’t belong to a specific art movement. It originally started as an underground form of art. Graffiti is an interesting form of art that isn’t controlled and is usually put on surfaces without permission but is a created way for all kinds of people to creatively express themselves. 

What is Graffiti?

According to the oxford, dictionary graffiti is “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place” (Oxford Dictionary).  Graffiti is usually done without permission, but they are times when permission is given to the artist(s). Graffiti can range from simple words or phrases to elaborate and detailed paintings on the wall. Graffiti has been around for a long time, with some older examples coming from ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire. In the sense of hip-hop, it is considered one of the four elements of hip-hop. Graffiti is the physical and permanent art form that shows cultural expression and the [black] resistance.

Where can you find it?

Graffiti is typically found in urban cities drawn on buildings, highways, sidewalks, or walls. 

There are many different ways to graffiti, but the most common method is to use spray paint.

Some of the most popular places to find graffiti in Atlanta particularly are Downtown, Little Five Points, East Atlanta, Cabbagetown, Old Fourth Ward, the Beltline, and the West End. However, there is also art on the highways as well as throughout the city in various places you wouldn’t think about looking.

Impact on the youth

While there are many forms of art that stem from hip hop, Graffiti is one that has been and continues to be extremely controversial. While many people interpret graffiti as an act of gang-related art, that is not always the case. Graffiti can convey a plethora of things depending on how you interpret it. Instead of associating it with negative connotations, many people equate its qualities to that of beautiful murals painted by famous painters such as Diego Rivera. Many scholars believe that graffiti is a way for the youth to reclaim public spaces. They also say that this helps to aid the youth culture in the development of self-identification. 

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