Arts & Life
Graffiti is the practice of painting with permanent substances in a public location. It can be a sign of gang activity in the area, a provocative political depiction or sometimes a friendly neighborhood project. Wall paintings date back to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt as elaborate murals and hieroglyphics. However, today, the practice of marking the property of another person without consent is considered vandalism and is a punishable offense in many countries.
Graffiti is an area in which law enforcement clashes with eccentric artists looking to display their work on public property in a public location. Graffiti has long appeared on the sides of railroad tracks, under bridges and on dingy subway walls. During World War II, the phrase “Kilroy was Here” became widespread throughout the world because of its use by American troops. The phrase, like many others, eventually trickled down into American popular culture. This was often depicted with a plain illustration. A popular graffitied phrase during the 1970s was “Dick Nixon, before he Dicks You!” This was a way for the hostile youth of the time to express their distrust in a nonviolent fashion while still getting their message across. Rock and roll graffiti is its own subtype of graffiti. In the 1970s, graffiti became associated with the anti-establishment punk rock movement. It was a way to send a loud message in the dark of night. Graffiti is its own form of communication.
One of the most widely known street artists of our time is known as Banksy. He is an English graffiti artist, public activist and filmmaker. Banksy was born in 1974 in Bristol England and it was not until the late 1980s during the great aerosol boom that he became interested in graffiti. He is a satirical street artist who uses subversive epigrams combined with dark humor and graffiti in a fabulous stenciling technique. He is known for his contempt for the government, which stems from his hatred of the fact that the government labeled graffiti as vandalism. He does not sell photographs or any recreations but auctioneers have been known to sell off his work on location. His work has appeared in countless places throughout the world, but the reaction stays the same — awe.
Graffiti appears in nearly every place around the world. Whether it is cave drawings done in ancient times or pictures on the modern subway walls, it sends a message. The message can be anything from a warning of gang activity to an image from an oppressed person hoping to send his message to the public. Either way, graffiti has been practiced for centuries and shows no signs of going extinct.