To be honest, there is no good answer to this question. Some of these people are true artists, with amazing skills, talent, ideas, social awareness and downright bravery. Others just own some spray paint. So, deciding if all the graffiti is good or bad is an impossible task. However, dismissing this amazing art form because of some who misuse is completely wrong. Not all of them are the same, and you don’t dismiss Pink Floyd because of Nicki Minaj, so keep an open mind. The real graffiti artists are usually turning some of the grimmer places of our cities into colorfully painted canvases that range from just looking better to conveying important messages and showing the general population’s opinion.
Types of Graffiti
There are different kinds of graffiti out there. Generally speaking, American graffiti art has different origins and it usually comes down to “tagging”, while the other places focus more on the message.
Tagging is supposed to show that a certain artist is the one who created that particular graffiti. Basically writing their own names, or their group’s names, thus suggesting the concept of ownership of public spaces. This is a great way to increase your individuality in this fairly capitalistic society. On the other hand, every capitalistic society will recognize the trends and find the way to use them to their own benefit. The same thing happened with the graffiti in the US. Many of the artists went mainstream and made loads of money. Tagged footwear and t-shirts have become ever present and the people like Ed Hardy have made loads of money. This being said, we must say that there are still many great artists in the US and they are the only reason why this art form is still vibrant, and will continue to be so, even though it has lost much of its street credibility due to ever-consuming capitalism.
Graffiti in other countries is more political and social oriented and this makes it less susceptible to mainstream. That is why some artists became famous worldwide and still remained true to themselves.
This Englishman is probably the most famous stencil artist. Even though he became extremely popular, his art is still very controversial and serves as political satire. With this image he showed that the guards are human as well although the entire society and tourism try to make them as stiff and impersonal as possible.
This one shows that big social issues are often swept under the rug and taken from the streets.
Here are some of his other works.
Many people still consider the works of Banksy and others like him an act of vandalism, but, just like any other true form of art, his works are intelligent, brilliant and, most importantly, thought-provoking. With artists like him, graffiti is sure to stick around and acquire the larger following that any true artist deserves.