Graffiti can be defined as any drawings, or writings scratched, scribbled, or sprayed on a wall illicitly, or sprayed on other surfaces in a public place. Many people regard Graffiti as an art although it is illegal.

Now the question is: is it crime or culture?

Graffiti as an Art Form

There is a section of people who consider graffiti as wrong, mostly because it is illegal, so they tend to see it as not being any form of culture. And yet, when someone does a very big painting people see it as art, so why not Graffiti?

Graffiti is a form of art/culture but not a straightforward one. Other people say Graffiti is a form of vandalism. This is mostly because Graffiti is viewed as the destruction of other people’s property. They may not consider Graffiti as a form of culture since art and culture are seen as expressions of skills and imagination — such as sculpture or painting. These things are appreciated primarily due to their emotional power and beauty, and most importantly, they have been created with the consent of the owner.

Arguably, anything appealing and beautiful that requires technique and skill may be viewed as an art form.  Isn’t this the case with graffiti then?

The presence of graffiti on public property is usually seen as a crime. However, when this is done in tunnels, and in other discreet places, there is a greater sense of appreciation for it.

Types of Graffiti Art

Graffiti exists in many forms. It can be a small tag of someone’s name written on a wall or a very large mural.  Urban areas are where you will find a lot of graffiti. Many artists say that if it wasn’t for graffiti, cities would look boring and grey. Those who are not fond of graffiti claim that it makes the city look messy. Graffiti is also mostly linked with gang culture and antisocial behaviour.

In truth, graffiti is mostly a medium for expressing certain political or social messages in the form of bold words or memorable images, or both. Banksy is one of the most well-known graffiti artists in Britain. He keeps his identity concealed and makes street art that carries a very clear message for society. He usually uses stencils, and spray paint to make his mark.

Still, graffiti remains illegal in the UK and graffiti removal is done as soon as it’s spotted. Those responsible for ‘defacing’ public property are usually fined. Although this is the case in most places, some towns do have ‘free walls’ where people can freely do their graffiti art.

Final Words

All in all, graffiti is arguably an art form because it’s an expression of the artist’s particular viewpoint or idea. For this reason, it belongs in the hall of culture as much as painting and architecture.