Will Graffiti Ever be Considered Art?


Alexander Rios-Fuentes, Contributor

Graffiti. The spray painted, mural like pieces of art that just about everyone has seen at some point, whether it be on a wall of a building or on a street sign. Most opinions you’ll hear about graffiti is that it is either a disgrace, a form of disrespect to the government and vandalism, or that they’re a beautiful style of art and a safe expression of creativity. There are differences between street art and graffiti, such as their history, the types of people that design them, the acceptance they receive, etc. Though, in reality, both can be seen as a form of art instead of only street art being seen as such. After all, one look at a good piece of graffiti can show just how much effort and time is put into it, along with the amazing artistic talent put into the work. Also, there’s often a lot of money spent on the materials needed to make good graffiti, such as the money needed for the spray paint, stencils, and masks/gloves for safety. 

Despite most stereotypes, graffiti isn’t always some angsty teenagers trying to defy the law, but can actually be a form of resistance towards discriminatory views, such as resistance towards inequality, misogyny, and racism, or can simply be a motivating stand-point. This is strikingly similar to street art, the only difference being that it is painted/sprayed on places where it’s illegal or considered illicit. 

With this illegal aspect to graffiti, it can make it a lot harder to really know if graffiti should be considered art, or even an art form. For most law enforcers and government officials, it’s definitely not to be seen as anything but a crude vandalism. After all, the definition of graffiti includes the fact that it’s done illicitly. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that it’s sometimes gang members who spray paint symbols, or names that are considered inappropriate or against the law. Though this can be a problem, there is also a style of graffiti that is only done on paper or done with permission. 

Just like any other art form, there are going to be some people that tend to ruin the fun for others. Overall, graffiti could be considered an art once it’s done legally, but while it’s still done explicitly and illicitly, most people may not consider it an art. So, will graffiti ever be considered an art? Most likely. As time goes on the acceptance of it is becoming a lot more popular, and as the meaning/definition of art is rapidly changing, it’s almost positive that graffiti will be seen as the priceless form of art that it is.