Street Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?
Brighton is a very well-known city in England regarding how many tourists come to visit each day. There is a large scene for art and music here. With a large amount of talent and successful universities that support artistic projects, there is a type of cultural enema.
Art is something that somebody can create. It lets individuals or groups express their creativity and, can take on various forms of crafts, murals, portraits, and spray paint graffiti.
When I was younger, I and my friends used to spray paint on walls as part of expression and creativity. At the time we didn’t feel like we were hurting anyone, we just enjoyed doing it, yet it was illegal.
I stopped doing it when we got caught by the police, but luckily we were let off with a warning. In regards to the process, I used to practice a design beforehand with a pen and paper and then I would take it to the wall. I used to enjoy spray painting, it was great fun. Now, as an adult, I feel very different.
For starters, it no longer looks appealing to me, in my opinion, it generally makes the area look rough and run down. Due to containing a cocktail of chemicals, and being bad for the environment with a high VOCs (Volatile organic compounds.)
These VOCs are very harmful to health and thinking back, I never used to wear a mask either which I was lucky that I never caused myself any harm.
Does the community benefit from graffiti?
As mentioned before, taking to just any wall with a spray can is likely to be illegal. If you do go against the rules you could face prison and a fine for vandalism. Based on the topic of whether graffiti could be beneficial to the community.
I believe that it could but only under strict conditions. The artist should conform to health and safety regulations and must have a talent and should also have necessary permissions from the property owner and/or council.
I know an artist who is amazing at what she does, and a lot of planning goes into it. When she operates the spray-can, it's not like the modern-day mess, it's stunning art that isn't just expression, but is alive.
The types of imagery range from African themed, seaside sights, to horse derived that capture the precise essence of intrinsic beauty. Instead of dispensing hatred for the community, it represents love, creativity, and compassion.
How to reduce vandalism?
To effectively reduce vandalism from spray cans, we should not try to stop people from being expressive but instead, control where they can.
For example, if my school were to have an after school class that I could have signed up for to partake in graffiti, I would have learned where I can and can’t do it, the health and safety procedures and it would have allowed me to get real practice instead of rushing my mess illegally in some alleyway.
I do believe that as a hobby or form of expression there should be more places where artists can practice and allow their hobby to develop. Just as children like to draw on paper, as they practice letters, numbers, and drawings, adults should also be given more opportunity.
Making young people aware of the laws would prove beneficial also, they are less likely to do it illegally if they know the harsh consequences.
Many people would agree that the more common type of graffiti devalues our cities and alters the way that we perceive our country.
The writing type of graffiti in general looks like a mess and it is very challenging to clean up. Its not uncommon for hate speech to be used in graffiti as well as many types of profanity. Again, this is people expressing themselves, but this type of public hate speech is not appropriate and is not a great way to go about your feelings.
Who is responsible for doing graffiti?
Whilst there is no specific stereotype for who is responsible, the people who are doing it are likely young or uneducated. It could be someone angry with governments if the art is based on hate. It could be people who dislike their community? Or even those that haven't learned to distinguish between right and wrong. Whoever they are, we should focus on helping them, by providing them with a space that they can express so that we can keep our streets clean.