Graffiti

The provides a basic definition of graffiti: “. . .visual perceptible elements (. . .) that vary in their color selection, size and complexity and are often attached unsolicited at places that are well visible.” Furthermore, it describes it as an alternative communication tool in the form of visual art. Unlike any other form of art, the context of graffiti depends on its environment — it gains its power from the location choice. For example, a message sprayed under a bridge has a less powerful effect than one on a city wall due to its accessibility and/or what the building is/represents.

The author sees graffiti from a cultural determinist view. She discusses how the mindset of the community determines the view on graffiti (i.e. the legality, art vs. vandalism, etc.) and the understanding of the message. The author also included several interviews with graffiti artists and their views on how graffiti is a form of communication.

In my opinion, graffiti should definitely be viewed from the cultural determinist perspective. Although graffiti can be purely for aesthetic purposes, it is often used for political or social messages as well. Therefore, the graffiti depends on the state, and culture, of society. Messages and/or are usually a reaction to current societal issues, such as racism or social injustices. Graffiti forces the public to notice the problems by making it visual. Graffiti artists typically choose this form of communication due to its uniqueness, rush of adrenaline, or for the [possible] cultural shock.

The article also talked about how there are ‘rules’ of graffiti. Some “Don’t’s” are: writing on houses of worship, people’s homes, other artists’ names, tombstones, memorials, and cars.

On a side note, the author also stated that there is a rise in females who participate in graffiti, and that there are artists of all ages.