Graffiti--art or vandalism?
By Shefa islam, senior writer
People believe vandalism is action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.
In that case what is graffiti? graffiti is writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.
Although there is a thin line between art and vandalism since graffiti is unauthorized writing or drawing on public property most people believe that graffiti is vandalism.
To make it more clear let us put it this way, where do you see graffiti? Anywhere but a museum. If graffiti was considered an art it would be put in museum instead of private property or public places. On a recent survey in Hillcrest High School, students were asked if graffiti is vandalism or art. Tatevik Sargsyan, said “It is art because people find their way to express their feelings and ideas on the walls. Which is not bad because it's their way of being creative. People draw 3-Dimensional drawings on the floor of the streets and it is called art? But when you do it on the wall it's vandalism?”
We must consider that some who speak about the subject do not know the full laws and claws of the subject. This opinion would be contradicting if graffiti only included beautiful drawings. However, graffiti also includes the horrible scribble.
Painting or scrawling on fences, subways, on the sides of buildings, houses, and other places are known as tagging. Doing any of these automatically becomes a crime of vandalism whenever someone intentionally damages property that belongs to someone else. Depending on the specific state and value of the property damage, the Penalties of vandalism typically include imprisonment in county jail, fines, or both. Although most of graffiti is childish scribble that looks like four year-olds have done, some of it is colorful and it would have looked artistic only if it had not destroyed someone's property.
Some graffiti vandals say that they are making the fences or walls look better by making them more colorful. This is not justified because they do not ask the property owner if it is okay with them. So it is not up to any vendal to destroy or change someone's property without asking for their permission. It's almost as if you would want a vendal coming into your house or apartment and smash down the windows because they thought the place would look better without windows? Of course not. Yet sometimes it can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair bills, or lower the property's value by thousands of dollars just because of one scribble across a fence or wall.
Not only the fact that graffiti is also known as vandalism, it also has a negative impact on society. For example, if an area has a wide range of graffiti, people tend to judge it as a "bad neighborhood" because there is a chance or gang activities or crimes. This can also affect nearby property value because it might decrease value and increase crime. Graffiti is also used to show gang property where other gangs are not welcome, which is another reason why gang-related crimes and violence are the crimes most commonly associated with graffiti.
In conclusion, graffiti would have been considered as art if only it was drawn or written on paper instead of someone’s property. Graffiti is vandalism and a crime that we should help prevent.