Discussion Topic: Graffiti as Art, Graffiti as History

Graffiti has existed since ancient times and continues as an important form of creative expression today. Watch the following videos on contemporary artists Barry McGee (b. 1966) and Margaret Kilgallen (d. 2001) and the beginning of a clip on Roman Emperor Hadrian’s legacy in Egypt for examples of early graffiti. Discuss how graffiti can convey a sense of history, and whether you think graffiti can be art.

You can also watch a short clip on 5Pointz, a graffiti mecca in nearby Long Island City. The building is slated for demolition and redevelopment.

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9 Responses to Discussion Topic: Graffiti as Art, Graffiti as History

  1. martin lee says:

    In this dictionary art is “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture and works produced by such skill and imagination.” In some of the videos below many artists gather together to create what they believe is art, as they paint on the walls they are painting something that they like. Art is different for everyone so one can’t simply say that another’s work is not art. In today’s society any work can be called art as long as the artist works on it, graffiti may not be art for some but it is for many people.

  2. Waseem Qurashi says:

    Graffiti (singular:graffito) is writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. Thats the type of graffiti everyone knows about but if you were like me and you didn’t know there’s also a different type of graffiti which is historical graffiti (archaeology) .Graffito(plural “graffiti”), in an archaeological context, is a deliberate mark made by scratching or engraving on a large surface such as a wall. The marks may form an image or writing. The term is not usually used of the engraved decoration on small objects such as bones, which makes up a large part of the Art of the Upper Paleolithic(the oldest undisputed prehistoric art), but might be used of the engraved images, usually of animals. So thats how much history is conveyed by graffiti so i think graffiti is a nice way to convey history

  3. Karim says:

    Graffiti is drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. This can be considered to convey history through archaeology. Art (to me) can be anything, its an expression of your inner thoughts. If you feel when your done with your work on that service then it can be become art. It is completely into the hands of the artist.

  4. JonathanChu says:

    I think graffiti is a type of art that overlooked or shunned. I believe that graffiti art is another way of expressing one own artistic talents. Many people consider it damaging because graffiti is usually on public walls or places that are hard to reach and its everywhere and even on people’s properties which is why its considered damaging but like in the video the person said you can just use a roller and paint over it.

  5. I think graffiti is under appreciated. Graffiti truly does take talent its not accepted everywhere so people do it in random places. I have friends who do graffiti who tell me they do have respect for certain buildings and have three rules. The graffiti on the statue in Egypt is really interesting its amazing how even in that time people would do some form of graffiti just to express themselves. The two artist are very talented and seem to separate themselves from other people. Its interesting there outlook on art and life. And just because he puts his art in museums he feels like a sell out. i think as long as your doing art you should be happy.

  6. Natasha says:

    Art is a way of expressing oneself.I also believe that anyone can be an artist,once they are passionate about it, put great thought into it along with hard work and express themselves freely.This is when Art comes to alive.Not everyone is talented enough to be. Graffiti artist since it takes such a unique and sometimes controversial stance in society.Graffiti Art like beauty is in the eyes of beholder,is either you appreciate it or you don’t.On the contrary I have a problem with some artist vandalizing precious , valuable rare possession. Somethings cannot be paint over and adding grafffiti to it might depreciate the value or destroy it.

  7. Anujat Deb says:

    I do believe that Graffiti is considered art because from what I have learned this semester, art is anything that is meaningful to the artist. Many disagree as to Graffiti being art but Graffiti is a form of art because it allows the artists to express themselves. Graffiti requires a talent as there is a specific style on how letters and images are drawn. It conveys a sense of history because it has been done since early Egypt. I actually have been to 5pointz in Long Island City many times as one of my friends has had permission to draw there. Some of the graffiti I have seen there seemed much more of a piece of art than some of the images I have seen in class.

  8. I personally believe that graffiti is extremely misjudged and underrated. Many people see graffiti as vandalism and most of the time call their artists “hoodlums”. I believe graffiti is actually one of the best type of arts ever made. Graffiti is an expression of the mind, the drawing is creative, detailed and you can always tell what it’s trying to say. To use 5 pointz for example, it’s a great place to see the true magic of graffiti, it’s truly a painting that says a thousand words. I think graffiti should really be considered an art, not a crime. It’s one of if not the most beautiful types of art there is.

  9. Graffity can definitely convey a sense of history. we can see how romans wrote in egyptian satues. The content can reveal stories from the time.
    Graffiti is art wether we like it or not. I think graffities should be done in certain areas, but I generally don’t like graffities in the city, in buildings or highways walls. I think the city looks dirty. There are some exeptions of course! For example I like the graffities in the Berlin wall.

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