Can graffiti be considered art?


Breckyn Vang, Staff Writer

Art has always been a very broad topic; however, there are things that are controversial to welcome to the art community. Graffiti is one of those topics that just not everyone is sure about.

The best way to address this issue is to go back to graffiti’s dictionary definition, which is “ writings or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.” Drawings are considered art and excluding what side you are on, well done graffiti requires practice, accuracy, and skill.

Sophomore Dakota Gamble says, “ Graffiti is art because it’s an expression of someone’s emotions and feelings.”

The term graffiti is often associated with more negativity, crimes, vulgar language and vandalism, which will understandably turn peoples heads away from it. It can be illegal, but it is mainly illegal to paint one’s property without permission.

According to an article on Dan Pearce, a mixed media artist says, “Graffiti is 100% art.” (See full article here: Is graffiti art or vandalism? | Vans.)

If someone had graffitied a vulgar word on a building, but it took a lot of time and skill because of the style to paint… then is it considered illegally placed art or just a bad word painted illegally? 

Just because art is painted illegally does not exactly mean it isn’t art. While it is definitely wrong to paint and mark up private property, there is a difference between someone making art and just marking up a place. 

Senior Kora Paulsen says, “If someone is just there to mark stuff up and be mean, it should not be considered art. If it’s commissioned and appropriate, that’s okay.”

Graffiti is somewhat of an acquired taste that many have gotten used to seeing. Graffiti artists have been hired to paint entire buildings with imaginative murals that require planning, skill, and experience. This art style is giving these artists jobs and new ways to express and normalize this style.

The average income fine graffiti artists make is around $49,000 a year. These artists do things like “graffiti bombing”, which is when a large piece of graffiti is put up over a short period of time. It actually was not until recently that graffiti was not classified as a crime.

Senior Victoria Triplet says, “ As long as it is legal, it is okay.”

It appears that the main issue with graffiti is the whole legal issue and crime associated with it. Some see it as an innocent way to express oneself and others see it as vandalism. There are pros and cons to the argument and both sides have good reasoning. It is up to the people to determine if this style of expression is okay.