A tribute to an expressive art form: Graffiti art


Shaelyn Martinez/The Lion’s Roar

Graffiti art can be found under train tracks in Hammond. Although it can be an attraction, artists should consider the property of private and public businesses before creating their art.

Visiting downtown Baton Rouge is where I have seen the most graffiti art. There are many colorful and stylistic walls that never fail to catch my attention. Although some may perceive graffiti as a bad thing, I have never experienced negative feelings in response to seeing it. I feel it does no harm, and it is interesting to imagine why they were created.

As my thoughts may reflect your internal thoughts, have you also ever wondered if graffiti is considered art?

The word graffiti is the plural form of the word “graffito,” which means “a scratch.” Graffiti can be considered to have been around since ancient times, but the modern form of graffiti – using spray cans – first appeared during the 1960s in Philadelphia. This practice has continued to modern day.

There are many different types of graffiti. Graffiti can include tagging, phrases or words, slogans, political statements or simple drawings.

I, however, believe that graffiti is art. What decides if it is art or not is the way it is carried out. Graffiti art is an effective way to impact people. If you see something inspiring that is sprayed across a large wall or billboard, it will encourage you to believe that you are not alone.

If you see large words that are negatively targeting you, making you feel uncomfortable, it will also catch your attention. Either way, the artist who created it will impact the viewer in some way.

In the current world engulfed in social media, the artist’s work may become explosive through digital means. As consumers repost the work on their social media accounts, a domino effect occurs until it is all over the web. Whether their work may be shamed or praised, it is still getting many individuals’ attention.

If the artist is using it to project violent and vulgar language, then I would not consider this art, but many artists use it as an outlet to send out a positive message, or to broadcast their opinion.

I do not think this art is the best way to express one’s feelings simply because art can be expressed in alternative ways that does not violate others’ property.

Graffiti is considered vandalism because the individual is on private or public property leaving behind sketches without permission. Ultimately, I feel that if graffiti is done in a way that is not offensive or meaningless, then it has a social impact that goes beyond vandalism.

This impact may be inspiring and create a voice not only for the artist but also for others who feel the same way. While many may claim words do not affect them, I do not believe this to be possible. Words, symbols and phrases are our main form of communication, and each has a lasting effect on us.

Dance, musical or theatrical art can each be interpreted in a distasteful way, but like graffiti, each expression impacts society. The only difference between graffiti and these other outlets of art is that graffiti leaves behind an everlasting mark.

I believe graffiti is an expressive tool that if used positively does no actual harm. Next time you come across graffiti art, think about the effect it has on you. More importantly, think about how it makes you feel.