Is Graffiti Vandalism or Art?

Photo by Ihsan K on Unsplash

I decided to write about graffiti being vandalism or art because I have lived this dilemma. Since I was a young boy, I have been interested in drawing anything I saw, from Pokémon characters to images of Jesus Christ my parents had hung throughout the house. I was always good at drawing what I saw in real life. The first time I took notice of graffiti was in high school. My friends all had a sketchbook of the graffiti they sketched from imagination and basic rules. I was so attracted to graffiti because of the freedom of expression in colors and styles. Then I slowly started to realize it was all around me.

Although all of it sounds like art and a good-hearted topic, this is where the truth shines. On this blog, we constantly seek out honesty. Painting on a wall that you do not have permission to paint is ILLEGAL and is, without doubt, vandalism. Even though it is illegal, I find it one of the most freeing and expressive forms of art. Nothing compares to sneaking out in the middle of the night to paint on anywhere your heart desires. Until you get in trouble with the law, hurt yourself, or die from a fall.

With all of that said, I know graffiti is an art form that unfortunately starts from a dark place. People will want you to believe it is either graffiti or art, but I know it is both. In the end, it is up to the artist to chose how he approaches the art form in the long run. Whether running from the law or asking for permission to paint, that is graffiti.

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