Graffiti essay art or vandalism

Indeed the issues of location and presentation are the most significant obstacles to a wholehearted acceptance of spraycan art as art. Graffiti art cannot be disregarded simply because it is not presented in the conventional location and manner, i. The location of it on a wall or subway without permission only makes it unsolicited art. As such, it can be called vandalism, but again, this does not disqualify it as art.

Rather the categorization of graffiti art as unsolicited art that is vandalism only justifies a removal of it from the surface. On the other hand, the vandalism aspect of graffiti art can be considered as a uniqueness and not a detracting feature of the art form because as vandalism, graffiti art is very temporary. A piece which might be sixty feet long, twelve feet high, and take twenty to thirty cans of paint and at least eight hours to produce might be gone in a matter of minutes.

Another challenge to graffiti art is that it is forced upon the public because people have no say in its production despite the fact that public funds are used to remove it. Graffitists counter with the argument that buildings, billboards, campaign ads, and flyers are also forced on the public in a similar manner. Spraycan art suffers other criticisms because of the generic characterization of all graffiti as being gang related and simply a matter of tagging.

Goldman claims that art takes us to other worlds in a manner that is quite fulfilling sensually and aesthetically.

Is graffiti vandalism or art? - Blog - Voice Magazine

This removal from the real world is enhanced by the mood of the gallery or the dark setting of the opera house. Most of the time when we encounter art and are transported by it to other worlds, we are in a location in which we expect this to happen.

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However, this is not the case with graffiti art. For it appears suddenly and in unexpected places. Thus, when we apprehend it, we are transported to these other worlds at a time and in a place that we are not accustomed to doing so. We are not used to art approaching us outside of conventional settings such as a museum. Instead of the audience going to view the art form, spraycan art reaches out to the viewer; sometimes in a startling manner. One can only imagine how shocking and surprising it might have been to see a colorful train moving swiftly through the dingy stations and drab boroughs of New York City.

Perhaps, this is its only crime. The institutional theory, in brief, mandates that art is that which is displayed by the art world to be accepted as art as determined by the members of the art world. Since graffiti art is not permanently established in any galleries or museums, often it is argued that it is not art, but even this criticism falls short because there are instances where the art world has recognized graffiti art as art.

Lee Quinones, a prominent writer in New York and one of the few graffitists to bomb, i. Likewise, Yaki Kornblit of Denmark, an art dealer, helped to launch the careers of several graffitists during the years of and at Museum Boyanano von Beuningen in Rotterdam. Jean Paul Basquiat collaborated with Andy Warhol for joint paintings in As graffiti was introduced to the art world, two trends happened. One, the art world of collectors, dealers, curators, artists, and the like helped graffitists evolve in style, presumably by sharing their artistic knowledge with the newcomers. Two, the exposure helped to expand graffiti to all parts of the world.

Furthermore, cities such as LA and Chicago have recognized the talent of graffitists by providing a means for them to do legal graffiti art which has helped to foster the art form and lessened the amount of graffiti art that appears in the city as vandalism. Likewise, organizations of graffiti artists such as the Phun Factory or the United Graffiti Artists in New York solicit places to do legal graffiti such as abandoned buildings, businesses, or community walls in parks. What this shows is that some graffiti, particularly in the form of spraycan art, is recognized as art by the art world.

This recognition of graffiti art by the art world is important for two reasons.

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One because of the social, political, and economic influence of the art world, its recognition of graffiti art as art helps to increase the awareness and overall understanding of the art form. Two, this recognition prevents the sweeping generalization that all graffiti is vandalism and therefore something that always should be eradicated. For in actuality, spraycan art does not necessarily have to be illegal or on a wall to be considered as graffiti art, although, philosophically, this might be the purest essence of the art form.

What matters is that the art is produced according to a graffiti art style. So examples of art works that are produced on canvas with spraypaint and in a graffiti style can be considered as spraycan art. And the exhortation that graffiti should be on a visible private or public space in order to be in its optimal context is not so much to glorify any illegalities but rather, to highlight the idea that graffiti is meant to be completely accessible to the public for immediate appreciation.

Also, the increasing acceptance of graffiti art is not due so much to its adoption of traditional techniques. On the contrary, books, magazines, movies, and the artists themselves have helped people to understand how and where graffiti harmonizes with and goes a step beyond traditional methods. Thus, it is important and valuable to characterize some forms of graffiti as art because this challenges people, who are conditioned to accept art works as art only if they are created in a traditional manner and appear in institutional setting, to appreciate art works that originate and develop outside of these constraints.

In doing so, people come to realize graffiti is not an art form that is done just for the sake of rebellious destruction. Quite the opposite, it is an innovative and truly original art form that is meant to bring an aesthetic pleasure to the audience like any other recognized art form. In summary, some forms of graffiti become art according to four criteria.

Second, graffiti art has an established history of development in style and technique. Third, graffiti art even has been recognized by the art world.

A fourth criterion is that the public response to graffiti art indicates that it is art. Whether or not all of the public agrees that graffiti art is good, bad, or extremely valuable is a different discussion about evaluation and not whether or not graffiti art is art. The evaluative concerns actually play more into where, when, and how graffiti art should be displayed. The above criteria are defensible in so much as they have been used to legitimize other artistic forms. However, what appears to be the most significant answer to describing how and why graffiti art is art is the notion of understanding where the artist and the audience synchronize in agreement about a particular work being an example of art.

It is a matter of comprehending what makes a creation art for the artist and what makes this same creation art for the audience.


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When and according to what criteria that these two viewpoints coincide is what thoroughly determines graffiti art as art. And like other art forms, graffiti art is definitively art when both the artist and the audience agree on the works ability to provide maximal aesthetic satisfaction.

While it is almost impossible to formulate a theory of necessary conditions or rules specifying when graffiti art is art, I think it is sufficient to draw on already established aesthetic theories and criteria to point out that some forms of graffiti do qualify as art. Therefore, graffiti in the form of spraycan art is art.

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It has form, color, and other base properties as well as an arrangement of these elements into structures that qualify it aesthetically as being art. Just doing something with spraypaint might make it graffiti, but it does not necessarily qualify it as art or graffiti art. The only obstacle that has hindered the general acceptance of graffiti art is its location and presentation. However, the instances of acceptance of graffiti art by the art world shows that conventional methods of presentation are not all that matters in determining if something is art.

And graffiti art is not to be disqualified as art simply because it might appear unsolicited. In short, graffiti in the form of spray can art is art like any other work that might be found in a gallery or a museum.


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Why I Do Graffiti! Is It Art Or Vandalism?!

Stowers Fall OverviewGraffiti art is an art form. The reasons, including aesthetic criteria, as to why it is an art form far outweigh the criticism of illegality, incoherence, and nonstandard presentation. The objective of this paper is to explain how graffiti art overcomes these concerns and thereby can be considered as an art form. References Castleman, Craig. Getting Up. Castllen, Rolando Curator. Aesthetics of Graffiti April 28—July 2, Chalfant, H. Spraycan Art. London: Thames and Hudson, Cooper, M. Subway Art. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Dickie, G.

Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology. New York: St. Goldman, A. Aesthetic Value. Boulder: Westview Press, Spitz, Ellen H. Image and Insight. I never needed anyone to do my homework for me until I got a part-time job in college. Good thing I did my research and chose this website to outsource all the essays.

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