Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Does Graffiti Qualify as Art?

Since its birth, graffiti, or graffito in singular form, has always met two very conflicting views from people. For the conservatives, it is nothing more than a form of vandalism. For the modernists, it is an art form. Consisting from simple scratches to elaborate paintings on the wall, this art form is ancient and, like time, has evolved a hundred fold. In earliest times, the cavemen used it on the cave walls to depict their day to day activities, and the ancient Greeks used it in "modern style" to advertise prostitution. In this manner, the Greeks carved a handprint that looks like a heart beside a footprint and a number, indicating that a brothel is near. The Romans used it to carve love poems, love letters, alphabets, slogans or any other messages that they want to convey to the public in general in a fast way, on their walls and monuments. For them, it was a way of advertising and easy information dissemination. Not only did they do the art form in letters, they also had it in pictures. An example of this would be a second century carving of a crucified donkey that many believe to be a depiction of Jesus Christ.
Despite the many reproofs, famous artists and painters had made use of it for plain amusement or for their profession. At one time, Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Filippino Lippi, Pinturrichio, and Ghirlandaio went to visit Nero's Domus Aurea ruins and carved, or painted, their names resulting to a new style of decoration of that era. A lot of evidences provide information that the Americans, the French, the Egyptians, the Malays, the Japanese and the Chinese of early times had also made use of it. This just goes to show that no matter how hard some people refute and regard it as junk, this certain art form is part of their culture and history.

In this day and time, graffiti has evolved greatly and has become part and parcel of the hip hop society and culture. With the technology available at hand, instead of carving the messages or images on the walls, the ones who make use of this art form now make use of the most handy aerosol spray cans, making it the most used tool for the modern art form. Because of this, graffiti has become a street art form and along with it emerged new styles. The first one is the basic form called the tag style. Because of its ease in execution being just a representation of an artist's name, it is most often used to gain recognition and as a signature of a larger piece. Next is where one makes a layer of color then outlines it with another color. This is called the throw-up style. Next style is the blockbuster style, which is made up of block letters making it very easy to read. The last style is called wild style and is made up of blended letters which are highly decorated.

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