Graffiti is the term given for figures, words or letters indented scribbled, painted or drawn in any way on a property (Castleman 8). It also refers to any form of markings done on public places such as subways and road signs; they may be in the form of plain written words or complex wall paintings. Graffiti has been around for ages, and has a lengthy and proud history. Furthermore, it has undergone a significant revolution over time.
It history dates back to the ancient time in Greece and Roman Empire when inscriptions, markings, and drawings were found in ruins and tombs. In the modern time, graffiti artists and writers use spray paints and marker pens to draw their graffiti; sometimes they have been arrested and charged with vandalism and defacement. Additionally, gangs use graffiti to mark their territories.
The ancient forms of graffiti are over ten thousand years old, and include cave paintings and primitive writings drawn with equipments such as plant pigments and bones. Modern graffiti art developed in the 1960's, and it has undergone various changes ever since. Graffiti was used largely by street criminal organizations to mark their territories, political supporters and activists to express their sentiments and statements (Castleman, 1984).
The current identity of graffiti art started forming in the late 1960s. The art developed as an underground culture and developed into a renowned culture n many countries, more so in the United States. It began in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia where individuals wrote their names all over the cities attracting interest from the media and community. It then spread to other cities such as New York City through deliberate efforts by individuals and partly due to unprompted occurrence. According to Chang, graffiti has often been associated and seen to be intertwined with hip-hop culture (20). The most notable one is the graffiti in the New York City subway (Castleman 42).
Regardless of the developments in the art field, graffiti art is not readily acknowledged as an art compared to the artworks displayed in exhibitions, galleries, or museums. It is argued that it is not a genuine art for the reason that it lacks form and other base artistic elements. However, the principal reasons for the increasing opposition against graffiti art are its illegal locations and boldness, unanticipated, and unconventional presentation (Chang 27). Graffiti is usually associated with street or underground characters such as gangs and criminals and most of the competitions are informal among these groups.
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It is associated with a subculture that revolts against authority, and is usually related to a wide range of negative attitudes such as crime and violence. It is used to express political ideologies and is majorly used as an instrument in a collection of numerous opposition techniques. Another reason that usually works against this artwork is the offensive expression and derogatory messages usually associated with graffiti.
In conclusion, graffiti has its positive attributes, despite the portrayed negativity. They are used in decorations, creation of designs, and in advertisements of various products. The history of graffiti art has come a long way and the development of this form of art is still farfetched. More effort and resources need to be channeled in developing and improving the aesthetic elements of graffiti art. This will help to reduce the criminal and sub-cultural notions associated with graffiti.
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