Street Art Legalization

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody drew whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet. ” (Banksy 85) Graffiti is a global form of expression that is untamed but uses similar methods as advertisements, yet is illegal in most cities.
Street art is a way of spreading your name or message, just like a company puts up billboards to get their product to their demographics. Graffiti and Street art in general are just terms for the urban art form of scribing or painting on public space with a message or name. The culture of graffiti is very hard to control since all of the tools needed are in the average person’s home already. Street-Art should be legalized because it is less destructive than advertisements and they are displayed in the same methods.
Tagging is the first step in becoming a graffiti writer, It is an artist’s baby steps in to the urban art form known as graffiti. A tag in graffiti is an artist’s signature. It represents who you are, where you’re from, and why you write. As the graffiti writer “Earsnot” said, “Tagging is like a timeline” you can follow the tags and see where the person has been that day just by the color of their ink (‘Infamy’) “The term ‘graffiti’ derives from the greek graphien which means to write” The current meaning of graffiti came to being because that is what the drawings and “marks found on ancient Roman architecture”(Phillips Par 1).

Writers for the majority will not sign their real names; they instead use nicknames, codes, or symbols within complicated lettering systems” (Phillips Par 4). Graffiti usually gets a bad reputation because people see the beautiful murals and wonder why the same artists create ugly scrawl. Graffiti comes in many forms and people really need to understand that. Since there aren’t any two writers at the same level, and all writers are at different steps in the art form. You cannot simply pick up a paint can and created perfect typography and detailed illustrations, no matter what your level of art is in any medium. The grimy, dirty, dripping tag signature comes from the same hands as the enormous multicolored murals” (Gastman 127). Many people say why do graffiti artists tag when they can just do murals. “Some people want to make the world a better place. I just want to make the world a better-looking place. If you don’t like it, you can paint over it! ” (Banksy par 15), in this quote the London street-artist Banksy is stating that he doesn’t care if you paint over or buff his work since he is just going to keep doing it. So the government is just wasting paint and money.
Street Art is a form of graffiti that uses the same way of portraying the artists work but with different tools and mediums. One of the most common means of getting street-art up is with the use of stencils. Where the artist will take cardboard or plastic and make a cutout into the material, usually displaying and icon or figure. Another common method of street-art is wheat pasting which where you create a poster sketched or printed on larger paper and then create a glue like substance using cornstarch and some form of an epoxy.
Some street-artists and graffiti artists alike will “sticker-bomb” which is where the either print stickers with a message or use shipping labels with a hand drawn character or tag and they will put them on walls, signs, windows, etc. Since it is a much quicker way than using a marker or a can of spray paint where you might get caught in the act if you are not very quick or in a rather crowded place. Graffiti is a cultural phenomenon that cannot be controlled. Every culture that currently exists or has existed has had its own form of graffiti.
Modern graffiti is thought to have originated during the Greek empire with political ideas and criticism that people would scribe onto the walls since it would be a definite way that the government would see it. Graffiti cannot be pure vandalism because it can be traced to almost every known society. Also graffiti writers cannot be classified as a single type of person, people who write come from every background. “Graffiti is a cross-cultural phenomena common to every literate society.
Within the variable contexts of their production, graffiti personalize de-personalized space, construct landscapes of identity, make public space into private space, and act as promoters of ethnic unity as well as diversity. Graffiti can be understood as concrete manifestations of personal and communal ideologies which are visually striking, insistent, and provocative; as such, they are worthy of the continued attention of art historians, social scientists, and policy makers alike. ” (Phillips 9) Graffiti is going to occur whether it’s legal or not.
If government legalized graffiti in public space, the overall crime rate would go down because it would not be added into the statistic of crimes that occurred and governments would not have to pay people to buff out the graffiti. Advertisers capitalized on graffiti strategies. Strategies that started to flourish in the early 1980’s in the New York where innovative writers such as “Cornbread” would do graffiti on subways and later busses. “You owe the companies nothing. You especially don’t owe them any courtesy.
They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. ” (Banksy 160) As said by Claw “Im making my stamp and I want it everywhere… ” (‘Infamy’) this is exactly what companies are saying when they purchase advertisement space. Advertising and graffiti function on a phenomenological element to arouse the viewer’s curiosity. They rely on the sheer amount of coverage and penetration, just as brands do to grow.
If you look into a crowd of people on almost every person you see you can recognize the company that created their clothing. They rely on the quality of the delivery to embed themselves into the viewer’s perception. “Brandalism; Any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It belongs to you. It’s yours to take, rearrange and re-use. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head” (Banksy 160). Society has an impact on artists.
In popular culture where advertising is seen thousands of times a day it evokes a desire in people to make there mark on this world. The empty promises of ads get flipped upside down when a writer realizes they possessed his or her own ‘brand’. The effect of advertising on young children may have been the catalyst for this global art movement. “The people who run the cities” do not recognize graffiti because they believe nothing has the right to exist unless it makes revenue. But if you just value capital then your belief is insignificant (Banksy 7). 1 year old Coda Explains, “Basically, when I look around, I see us living in a modern day Babylon, full of temptation, sin, distraction, corruption, injustice, and misguided fools being mentally enslaved. It seems to me the only way to wake people up from this kind of numbness is to destroy what they know: Their business, their places of commerce and their biggest place of gathering, the cities! Put it on their trains, on the lines they take to work, on their rooftops, on their highways, on anything just to make some people realize that culture isn’t ost and that, at the very least, a small group of kids is fighting to keep it alive” (Tucker 1). Graffiti should be legal because it is less destructive to people than advertisements and they are displayed in the very similar methods, yet people are shocked to see it. Graffiti approaching them not in a gallery, but on the streets.. One of the main point that I am trying to prove through this paper even though it isn’t mentioned is, why is the government persecuting people trying to create art and shape the way that modern history is unfolding.

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