Is Graffiti A Form Of Art On The Streets Or Is It Vandalism?

The definition of art is so vast that even the public spaces are not beyond the imagination. That is why there are so many artists out there who display their creativity for all to enjoy in the form of these amazing examples of 3D street art. There are many stunning examples of street art out there that we often overlook in the humdrum of our daily life and which some people even go as far as to describe as vandalism.

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There are many works of art out there when you look for it. In fact, you should enjoy these cityscapes in the form of urban sketches. The simple fact is graffiti does tend to make people in official positions around the urban areas feel frustrated. While one can see the reason and logic behind this frustration, one can also find some sympathy in their hearts for the artists who have made the available spaces in the city their canvas.

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Let us look at the history around graffiti: The term graffiti has come from the Latin term Grafiato which literally means scratching. The fact is one cannot pinpoint a timeline for graffiti as people from the cave era have been scratching words and images on the wall.

If you want, you can actually view the first known sample of graffiti in Ephesus which is a Greek city, now in Turkey. This heart and footprint inscribed with a number is supposed to give directions leading to a brothel.

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Urban or street art: In the later portion of the 20th century you can see an increase in rebellious messages that are part of graffiti. Often activists have used this medium to put across their anti-establishment messages. The use of the term urban art is used to differentiate from vandalism but in essence, graffiti is still considered vandalism when done without the permission of the owner of the property on which it is done.

When graffiti is done on public property owned by a government, then too it is considered vandalism. No matter how you define it, people who do this kind of thing have to be careful not to be caught, to escape punishment.

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Often graffiti writers or street artists describe their activity as going out bombing. Some of them even leave some form of signature on their work to stamp It with their individuality. There are crews which are groups of such artists and are spread around the world.

Graffiti art types: Normally graffiti writers use spray cans of paints to do their work. The range of work can be from the most basic to quite a complicated one. The simplest works are called tagging and the complex ones pieces. In many cases, the street art is undertaken with the permission of the owner of the property and done this way the street artist can also gain recognition for their work.

Stencils: Some artists, create art with the use of stencils which they fill with paint after holding it against the wall. The quality of stencils and the filling of colors shows the true talent of the artist.

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Slaps: Some artists create their art work on stickers that they put on the site very quickly.

Wood blocking:  The artist could produce works on plywood that is then mounted securely.

Wheat pasting: In some cases, a wheat flour and water paste is used to stick the work of art on to the wall.

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Street installations, sculptures and mosaics: This is a three dimensional work of art that is installed on the streets.

Some famous street artists: Though many street artists use subterfuge and often do their work under the cover of darkness, there are some who have made a name for themselves. In fact, some of them have had their work shown in museums like the one of contemporary art in Los Angeles.


Bansky is a graffiti artist of renown from Britain. He was actually trained to be a butcher. He use the stencil technique and creates street art that is full of subversive sayings, satire, and dark humor.

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Jef Aerosol, an artist from France became known when he spray painted his stencil in Tours in the year 1982. His work has been shown at many galleries across the globe.

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Blek le Rat, another street artist from france is called the originator of Stencil graffiti. His Xavier Prou got him arrested. He is famous for painting rats on walls in Paris calling them as the only animal that is free in the city.

What is the difference between vandalism and street art?

Where can you draw a distinction between these two? When the message is clear and efforts are made on a building that is not used, it is difficult to call it vandalism. However, an artwork that has the tendency to mar would be considered vandalism.


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