Thursday, 29 March 2012

CASE 395 - Graffitti

Graffiti has been around for thousands of years. Romans wrote on the walls of buildings they conquered and cave men drew illustrations on cave walls, although graffiti has not been in the United States quite that long. Graffiti first became big in New York and spread through other states. It started as tagging or writing your name on a street sign. Then gangs used graffiti as a way to mark territory. Not long after, graffiti became a form of art. It inspired young artists to come out and use this new art as a form of self expression. Whatever mood they were feeling they were able to make somthing beautiful. Lee Quinones, one of many graffiti artists, changed the grimy place near Brooklyn bridge into an incredible gallery of art.

Graffiti started moving from streets to subways and quickly became competitive. Graffiti artists had to compete for space and it inevitably offended property owners. This, and the misunderstanding that all graffiti represented gang activity, led to community pressure on polititions. But still graffiti artists strive to improve their art which is constantly changing. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner's consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime. Graffiti may also express underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles. Within hip hop culture, graffiti has evolved alongside hip hop music, b-boying, and other elements. Unrelated to hip-hop graffiti, gangs use their own form of graffiti to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities.

Controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials/law enforcement and writers who wish to display and appreciate work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing art form whose value is highly contested, reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.

The earliest forms of graffiti date back to 30,000 BCE in the form of prehistoric cave paintings and pictographs using tools such as Animal bones and pigments. These illustrations were often placed in ceremonial and sacred locations inside of the caves. The images drawn on the walls showed scenes of animal wildlife and hunting expeditions in most circumstances.

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