Art or Graffiti?

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The phrase “graffiti artist” illustrates the difficulties in deciding what is art and what is graffiti.

There are a growing number of examples of graffiti as an art form. Increasingly, city dwellers, especially younger ones, regard skilled examples of graffiti as street art capable of enhancing bland or derelict urban environments. They reject the assumption that all examples of graffiti amount to vandalism or anti-social behaviour.

However, Local Councils in the UK still attempt to deter and reduce graffiti, even when the person whose property is affected does not object. Graffiti gets a bad press when obscene language is involved or when the purpose is to incite racial, political or religious hatred.

Graffiti artists come from all social classes, but not every artist is well motivated or skilled. Public art may not be to everybody’s liking, though there is usually a process of consultation before it is put in place. Allowing publicly owned buildings and structures within the outdoor environment to be everybody’s canvas would probably not result in good community relations.

-----© Ted Power