Art has been a international language throughout the centuries since the first human’s began to interact with each other and brings people together through its complexity and overall message. Historians can go back thousands of years and study artifacts or musical composition’s that date back to the BCE era and have been preserved for all those years since this time. Art has evolved just like modern technology and ethics from the past and continues to change in art forms like rap from the late 1970’s or surrealist art from the 1920’s. Most art forms are considered important and fascinating to the public eye, but one art form has continually been fought over about it’s influence and if this art form should be considered a crime. This form is more commonly known as graffiti and is the artistic means of writing or drawing art either by scribbling, scratching, or painting on a surface somewhere in public. Many consider graffiti to be offensive and a disturbance to the community where the artist is working, thus resulting in the artist’ arrest in worst case scenario. But, in my opinion, I believe graffiti is just another form of art that should be explored without the threat of a fine or jail time.
First off, many like to argue that graffiti is an expression of art that will fade overtime and will disappear into obscurity in a few years, but this fact is very wrong. The earliest documented act of graffiti has been dated back to ancient civilizations like ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. These images were etched into the stone of wall making up ancient ruins and even the Catacombs of Rome. Graffiti was also used to pass messages to one another in the past and it to date the only known remnants of the Safaitic language that was spoken in Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Graffiti throughout history has been used to preserve early examples of poetry insight on the lifestyles of people present in ancient times. Now, I give these examples of how graffiti continued through the times because without graffiti, us as a civilization wouldn’t have the possibly in some cases of viewing the world in the eyes of someone from the past and we would be missing so many key examples of history that is used today to uncover even more ancient ruins or artifacts. There is even more recent examples of graffiti that gives us now the ability to learn about the past like, “Signature Rock” in America that was signed during the Oregon Trail or the widespread phrase, “Kilroy was here” during WWII. Graffiti is an art because it can stand by itself and live through so many generations without it vanishing into nothing.
Next, graffiti has been commonly used in more recent years to express political views and the discourse between the people and some type of controlling force. Graffiti for many is used to represent the feelings of the people in a situations where freedom is either limited or non-existent. It has been used in campaigns against war during the Vietnam War or by the people of a nation protesting against the current government like images opposing the current Russian president Vladimir Putin. Many could argue that with the good that graffiti brings to fighting against something a person might disagree with, it also gives people the opportunity to spread hateful imagery and destructive ideas. Graffiti gives a gateway for violent radicals to spread their ideas of brutal actions like the ideals of ISIS or the fascist symbol of the swastika. But, you must also consider the fact that graffiti as well spreads love and peace throughout communities and even greater, the world. We see this though the images of protest or messages of hope that were painted onto the Berlin Wall or how graffiti can bring people together in protests for things like gay and transgender rights in countries were you can be killed for just being yourself. Graffiti can bring people together and form a community of people looking out for each other and changing the world around them to be a better place. So why would you want this to be a crime? Peace shouldn’t be felony.
Finally, graffiti is a art form that many express themselves through and show their love for art through. The emotions murals or other large artworks can bring to a person is powerful when you consider the fact that is art is illegal is most forms and the artist is putting themselves in harm’s way to express an idea or feeling. The artist are forced to hid themselves from the public in fear of criminal punishment, but they still always try to show their art off to the world and show others their talent and ideals. These artist want to create a powerful impact in those who see their art and want to benefit their life in some way. This fact is the reason why I believe graffiti shouldn’t be a crime like it is now because you can’t limit a persons right to create art that can improve a persons day or a current situation at the time. Graffiti artist deserve better treatment for all the culture they bring to the world and how they use art to shape the world we live in now.
With recent years, several street artist have become more and more popular and have showed the world that their art can’t be stop. Artist like, Banksy who creates art based on social and political conversation or Blu who’s art is based on the art form of surrealism. With this influx of popular graffiti artist, I can only hope that laws began to get reviewed and thought over in the hopes that street artist will be accepted and will not need to fear the law while creating their art.