Legality

“A man sits inside his car until the moon is at the highest point. He grabs three cans and carefully walks to the left side of an abandoned train. After looking left to right, he shakes the first can and begins his next masterpiece. The word graffiti encompasses more than barely legible letters on the side of a train. This aerosol art form has evolved into its own subculture over the last few decades, complete with social classes, jargon and unwritten laws. (Alternative Art: Graffiti, Legal and Illegal, Thrives in San Marcos Underground)

Many people see graffiti as vandalism and they cannot look past the fact that someone has defaced someone else’s private property.  What other people see from graffiti is outstanding artwork and from it ordinary people ponder how could someone make amazing artwork without being caught.  Graffiti has changed over so many years and it is still evolving.  Graffiti is illegal in so many places around the world, but for example in San Francisco it is actually legal.  In that city graffiti ranges from a simple “tag” to small pieces of art to large murals on building walls.

The creation of graffiti may come from destroying something like a wall of a side of a building, but it brings something so creative to the city where bystanders will look at the picture in amazement.  Many graffiti pictures can be very interesting to look at, but at the same time, when people just do scribbles or tags on walls and trains then that can become a problem.  For those people who do graffiti, and don’t make murals and just do it to ruin property then that should be illegal.  They may think they are making art, but in reality they are just defacing property.

Graffiti artists who make small paintings or large murals think that graffiti should be legal.  They are expressing themselves and are making artwork for everyone to see. One graffiti artist stated, “He would never paint on a church, school, or small business because you need to respect your city where you live.”  If the graffiti is a great piece of artwork and is appropriate for all eyes to see then it should be legal because it gives the city a certain character.  It is true that when other graffiti artists make murals or paintings on the streets it is also defacing private property, but in San Francisco it is legal graffiti so the artist actually gets paid for what they are doing.  Graffiti that stands out around the world should be known because these artists have a lot of talent.  So maybe the question isn’t if graffiti should be legal or illegal; maybe the real question should be what kind of graffiti should be allowed and what should be illegal.

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