Busted! | Berlin's hip-hop scene | Art? | Positive Power | Werd! | Werd! | Werd | Werd | Werd!

So I am about to pose a question, the
majority of my audience will undoubtably and
immediately answer yes to. It is a question
that much of graffiti culture struggles with.
Contained with in the answer to this question
lies the resolution to so many issues raised by
graffiti. Graffiti issues involving such things as
confrontations with the law, people feeling
that their property has been violated and
most issues arising from what many people
believe to be vandalism. So by this time I am
hoping that I have captivated and heightened
your curiosity towards my question. My
question is this, is graffiti art? Simple yet
complex isn't it?

Now to answer this question objectively I
must first call upon my expe riences with
society and graffiti. I'll begin with two
definitions from my pocket dictionary. Just to
clarify, I chose to use definitions from a
dictionary because dictionaries are a
reference tool for the mass population.
Dictionary definitions generally tend to be
more representational rather than biased.
They have chosen to take on the
responsibility of defining and I'll take on the
responsibility of challenging, perhaps.

Vandal- one who wantonly and deliberately
damages or destroys. It is a challenging word
to argue because so many people interpret it
personally on so many different levels. The
other side of the challenge is defending
graffiti against the word vandalism. I'd like to
tell you about one of my personal experiences
with vandalism. Some asshole came and
painted ugly pink and chrome letters all over
the back of my school. I felt violated, the back
of my school marred by undeveloped ugly
letters. Can this too be graffiti? Are there
appropriate places to paint? These are some
questions I asked myself. I've concluded that
yes these letters were graffiti too and yes
there are more appropriate places than
others to paint. I don't believe it to be
acceptable to paint on anyone's car, home or
any personal belongings. In my opinion
schools and churches should never be painted
on without permission. I think that painting in
industrial places or downtown seems among
the most logical and appropriate place to
write. You have the opportunity to vandalize
and no one except for some cappy (capitalist )
asshole will feel the burn of it. I also think
that trains are an appropriate place to paint,
if done with respect to the train ( refer to
Cosoe interview ). Now it seems as though I
have strayed from my thesis, I however have
not. Graffiti is constantly confronting the
vandalism issue. I believe that graffiti is art
when painted respectfully and appropriately.
The most possible people are affected by the
message, yet the fewest people possible are
affected by the damage.

Graffiti- writing, drawing on walls. The
definition of graffiti drew an interesting image
to my mind, neolithic men painting on the
walls of their homes. Anthropologists find
such drawings as a key to unlocking the
mysteries of man's existence. These paintings
told stories of a way of life. They portrayed
such things as hunting, spiritual ceremonies
and anything else involved within their
culture. Now I may be mistaken but, I believe
graffiti to be a part of a culture called Hip Hop.
Is graffiti indeed a visual representational
form of documenting Hip Hop, street life and
societal trends? Perhaps one day
anthropologists will discover some of today's
graffiti in a thousand years and finally be able
to answer essential questions they have
posed. Art has always been a tool in
documenting historical periods. Ironic is it not?
In some aspects (according to the dictionary)
graffiti is an essential piece to comprehending
all of mankind, yet the same definition directly
applies to people going to court on vandalism

Art- skill, human skill as opposed to nature;
creative skill in painting, poetry, music etc.;
any of the works produced thus. Painting,
wether with spray cans or brushes, always
requires skill and practice. Art requires time
dedication and desire, graffiti too requires
these very same qualities. Most of today's
contemporary canvas art was first detested
and pushed away before being embraced by
the art world. Most art movements began
within the underground and were originally
viewed as useless. If you have the
opportunity to take an art history class you
will learn about the plight most contemporary
art forms have gone on to achieve
acceptance. Perhaps graffiti too is a struggling
art movement slowly achieving the strength it
needs to fully flourish. I believe graffiti to be
an art movement. In twenty some years
maybe it too will have the recognition it
deserves. Graffiti documents culture just as
any other art form does. Graffiti requires
personal experience and influence, just as
any other art form. Graffiti according to the
principles of art lacks the differences it would
require not to be considered art. Art is
expression, wether physical, written or visual.
Hip Hop, specifically graffiti, proves itself to be
an art movement.

I believe that graffiti is art. I think that I have
answered my question. Graffiti documents
culture, the diverse and complex culture
today's youth confronts. The vandalism issue
comes down to respect. Respect them and
they will more than likely respect you.
Perhaps society should resist the temptation
to equate senseless vandalism with time,
dedication and skill. A graffiti artist requires all
the same qualities that any contemporary
artist would require. One day I believe graffiti
too will be accepted as the phenomenal art
movement that it is.