According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, graffiti is “an inscription or drawing made on some public surface…a message or slogan…” As an artist, graffiti provides a platform for self-expression, in which the context of urban existence is directly informed, referenced and influenced by. As a student, graffiti was the only art form that provided representation of my community, my music, and my values. As an educator, graffiti has the potential to engage youth with familiar priorities of urban identity, agency, and navigation. I propose graffiti is a containment of identity, as defined by Margot Waddell, by allowing me to build an identity based purely on the merit of my efforts, liberating me away the marginalization of my physical identity. “Tagging is not simply an act of vandalism or violence; it is a social practice with its own rules and codes – a literacy practice imbued with intent and meaning.” – MacGillvray & Curwen
Graffiti. (n.d) In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
MacGillivray, L., & Curwen, M. S. (2007). Tagging as a Social Literacy Practice. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(5), 354-369.
Waddell, M. (1998). Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of the Personality. New York: Routledge.
amusing defacement of public toilets.
(standing at the urinal): look up
(looks up): now you're pissing on your shoes
Unwanted art and expression on public or private property. Causes monetary distress to the owner of the "canvas", and a feeling of wanting to kick the ass of the punk that expressed himself.
"It cost me $1000 to have the graffiti removed from the side of my shop."
Completely illegible nonsense written on private property.
Often people consider graffiti art, however it is not in any way, shape or form. It is aesthetically ugly, and most often all looks the same.
Did you hear that John, the misguided delinquent got busted for graffiti'ing?
Newspaper of the streets. Contrary to the relatively recent "art" interpretations that naive hip-hoppers have applied to graffiti, it is instead the longstanding form of communication by street gangs. Gangbangers place complex designs on public and private property to identify turf, to intimidate or disrespect enemies, and to display action orders.
Hip-hoppers who make impassioned defenses of graffiti as some "cultural artistic expression" simply confuse the issue for people in the mainstream. In its newest and least form, graffiti is simple vandalism by naive hip-hoppers. In its oldest and worst form, it is a mode of communication for domestic terrorists (gangbangers).
Hip-hop tagger boy thought it was a cool visual element to paint gleaming golden crowns upside-down in his graffiti. Then the LKs caught up with him and shot him four times in the base of his skull.
graffiti is sometimes used to communicate between gangs but is also sometimes art..
(guy 1) hey did you see johnnys graffiti at the train tracks.
(guy 2) yea hes cool
spray painting girls
girl ill graffiti you whatever color you want.
A stupid, ugly "form" of art that is a way of destroying property in the city that taxpayer dollars pay for.
An art that is drawn on walls, busses, houses ect by people whose parents could never afford to buy them coloring books.
Is that graffiti gangsta art or sometihng copied out of my little sisters coloring book?
Hey look at the gangsta over there scribbling graffiti! Hey here comes the police! Better pick up those pants and run!