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Graffiti: Art, Vandalism or Commerce?

at 2:18 PM

Interesting article in the Times Online about Banksy, an (in)famous graffiti artist whose street art has appeared on walls around the world. The debate is a familiar one: is graffiti art or vandalism?

When I was at RISD, Sheppard Fairey was already famous for his ubiquitous stickers, "Andre the Giant has a posse" that were on plastered on every public surface you can imagine. Nowadays, Sheppard is a highly successful commercial artist, his most recent work includes Barack Obama's "Hope" campaign poster. Here in Providence, three graffiti artists, Seaz, Juner and Lead, were commissioned to paint a mural for Temple, a restaurant inside of one our four-diamond hotels.

So, is graffiti art (an expression of the human soul, socio-political commentary), vandalism (littering on someone else's property) or commerce (payment for services rendered)?





Comments

Able | December 10, 2008 4:06 PM
I voted other, because I believe it *is* art, but is most of the time also vandalism.

Chris | December 10, 2008 4:17 PM
I voted too...
Raven | December 11, 2008 11:28 AM
I hesitate to call it art because I don't want to encourage any more graffiti. However, to look at some of their "tags"; it requires more skill than some of Pollock's work or Rothko. So I'd have to say, if it was commissioned, they're artists. If it's tagging the side of a building like a dog marks its territory, they're punks.
Daily OY | December 11, 2008 2:21 PM
It's primarily vandalism.

But it can be a lot of fun to look at.
Becky | December 11, 2008 2:32 PM
I voted other because I think it is art when permission is granted or design is commisioned and that it is vandalism when it is done on private property without permission
donavin | December 27, 2008 8:08 PM
i think the graffiti is a good lesson for yung artists to learn their pashen in art
cheese | December 27, 2008 8:11 PM
graffiti is awsome i spray buildings every night.PS. i dont spray paint.

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