Graffiti Should Be Considered Art

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 686 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 686|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Historical Context
  2. Artistic Value
  3. Social and Political Commentary
  4. Legal and Ethical Considerations
  5. Conclusion

Graffiti has long been a subject of contention, often occupying a gray area between vandalism and art. Historically, it has been viewed as an act of defiance, a rebellious expression carried out under the veil of anonymity. However, as society evolves, so too must our perceptions. This essay argues that graffiti should be considered art, examining its historical context, its artistic value, and its role in social and political commentary.

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Historical Context

The roots of graffiti can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Inscriptions and drawings on walls have been discovered in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, often depicting daily life, significant events, or even humorous anecdotes. These early forms of graffiti were not considered acts of vandalism but were rather seen as valuable cultural records. In modern times, graffiti began to gain prominence in the 1970s in New York City, where it evolved as a form of expression for marginalized communities. The subway cars and alleyways became canvases for those who felt voiceless, allowing them to communicate their identities and experiences to a broader audience.

Artistic Value

Art, by definition, is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture. Graffiti meets these criteria in numerous ways. Firstly, it requires a high level of skill and creativity. The intricate designs, vibrant colors, and unique styles evident in graffiti art are a testament to the artists' abilities. Many graffiti artists, such as Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat, have gained international acclaim, their works displayed in prestigious galleries and fetching high prices at auctions.

Moreover, graffiti often embodies the principles of contemporary art. It challenges traditional notions of what art should be and where it should be displayed. Unlike conventional art forms confined to galleries and museums, graffiti exists in public spaces, making art accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. This democratization of art is a significant contribution of graffiti to the broader art world.

Social and Political Commentary

One of the most compelling arguments for considering graffiti as art is its role in social and political commentary. Graffiti often serves as a powerful tool for communication, allowing artists to convey messages about societal issues such as inequality, injustice, and human rights. For instance, the works of Banksy, a renowned graffiti artist, often critique political corruption, consumerism, and war. His art has sparked global conversations and brought attention to issues that might otherwise be overlooked.

Furthermore, graffiti can serve as a voice for the marginalized and oppressed. In many urban areas, graffiti is a means for individuals and communities to express their frustrations and aspirations. It provides an outlet for those who feel disenfranchised, offering a sense of agency and empowerment. By transforming neglected urban spaces into vibrant art, graffiti artists reclaim their environment and challenge the status quo.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Despite its artistic value, graffiti is often illegal, leading to debates about its legitimacy as an art form. Critics argue that it constitutes vandalism, causing property damage and contributing to urban decay. However, this perspective overlooks the potential benefits of graffiti. Many cities have begun to recognize the value of graffiti, designating specific areas as legal graffiti zones or commissioning artists to create murals. These initiatives not only beautify urban spaces but also encourage positive community engagement and tourism.

Moreover, the illegal nature of graffiti should not overshadow its artistic merit. Throughout history, many art forms have challenged legal and societal norms, from the Impressionists to the Abstract Expressionists. The boundary-pushing nature of graffiti is, in many ways, a continuation of this tradition. Rather than dismissing graffiti as mere vandalism, society should seek to understand and appreciate its complexities and contributions.

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In conclusion, graffiti should be considered art. It possesses significant historical roots, requires considerable skill and creativity, and plays a vital role in social and political commentary. While legal and ethical considerations cannot be ignored, they should not diminish the artistic value of graffiti. By broadening our definition of art and embracing graffiti, we can foster a more inclusive and diverse cultural landscape. Graffiti, in its myriad forms, is a testament to the power of human expression and creativity, deserving of recognition and appreciation.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Graffiti Should Be Considered Art. (2024, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Graffiti Should Be Considered Art.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2024,
Graffiti Should Be Considered Art. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Graffiti Should Be Considered Art [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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