Graffiti: art or vandalism?

LONDON – As with any big city, you’ll find London has a fair amount of graffiti. Most of it is insignificant and territorial markings by gangs, but occasionally you stumble upon something that’s artistic and creative. I was in West London and almost walked past these two drawings before I stopped to take a closer look.

What do you think? Is this art, or just vandalism?



11 thoughts on “Graffiti: art or vandalism?

  1. In and of itself, criminal graffiti imposes. It therefore has nothing to do with art and everything to do with criminality in that the vandal demands and imposes itself upon a community – forcing that community to submit to its imposition. Such individuals use their “artwork” to attract attention – much like an infant does when it spreads its feces on the bedroom wall. Graffiti is nothing more than spoiled brat behavior by those who feel they are above the laws of the communities in which they live. The only difference between an infant and a vandal self-expressionist is maturity. An infant has no idea of the ethics of their act. The adolescent purportedly does but does not give a damn.

    Vandalizing is a choice only an individual with a diminished conscience can make. Also, artwork when it is art never spits at its viewers. It speaks – asks, does not command to be listened to. A visual artist worthy of the name artist is one who seeks to be recognized (as we all do), but does not consider him or herself above all others within a community.

    When we talk about bare walls being boring or annoying, is it possible that we are the ones with the limited vision? Would our perception be not a little more enlightened if we took the time to step back – to look at the whole picture rather than to lower everything down to the lowest common denominator level of our own ignorance? The damned bland wall just might simply be a small element in a bigger picture we just failed to take into account. . . But then, ignorance is easy. It allows us to do things we would never do if we took the time to learn more about what exists beyond our own navels. And. . . incorporating the big picture into our limited lexicon would take time and effort, Right? And like, you know. . . That’s work isn’t it?

    Destroying based on our limited visions is tantamount to having a tantrum because no one appears to recognize how wonderful we are. . . Wake up baby! There are millions like you and me and none are any worse or better. We’re all in this world together. So get in line for the hugs. Just because you demand them does not make you more important and entitled to being recognized first.

    To impose one’s work on an individual property whether public or private is destruction and/or vandalism pure and simple. Such behavior is no better than the critic Clement Greenbergs imposition of his vision upon the abstract expressionists of his day. He commanded and they submitted. Some democracy! But if the ruling came down from an eminent critic, doesn’t that make the resulting artwork Art? Not by a long shot. And just as Clement Greenberg’s “word” was not vision, graffiti is never art – not under the premise of cowardly night time imposition. or brash daytime desecration. Anarchy by any other name remains anarchy. Asinine attitudes under any other name remain asinine.

    Well, I’ve had my say – whether certain quarters like it or not. . . and so I will now get back to my painting. . . on legitimately acquired surfaces. . .

      • I don\’t think of Bansky as a graffiti artist or any other type of artist. Actually, I don\’t think of Bansky at all. I can only respond by asking a simple question: How can one person draw and paint on a private or public wall and be considered an artist and someone else (who doesn’t appropriate the title artist) throws a can of paint at the same wall and is dubbed a criminal – accused of defacing private or public property?

        Permanent adolescent entitlement is getting stale.

  2. Pingback: GRAFFITI- vandalism or art 1 of 9 « biglickgiblets

  3. Personally I think it’s too well done to be graffiti, but then I guess the opionion may change based on who owns the proporty and what its used for.

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