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Graffiti As Art?
Say the word graffiti and most people, adults at least, will cringe. But investigate the world of graffiti and from an artist ‘s standpoint, there is some incredible work going on. I don ‘t mean “tagging”- the ridiculous scribbles of wannabe gang bangers and street criminals who have nothing better to do with a Sharpie. I mean the real thing- the “throw-ups”, the the “pieces” done in fantastical colors with powerful forms and graphic images.
At the very least, graff writers are skilled artists. They understand technique, color, form and design. Graff art has exploded into an urban modern art movement that is continually in transition and continues to inspire young artists worldwide. So, this being said, why do so many of these immensely talented street artists continue to give their talent away by creating masterpieces on inappropriate surfaces? Some, like Mark Ecco, have moved on developing product lines from what were once graffiti images. But the purests rage that “true graffiti” can only be done on the streets, in the dead of night, under cover of darkness, with the threat of being caught always a possibility. But why give your work away for free? Graffiti art has moved into the advertising scene, clothing lines, shoe design and galleries. But the prophets with spray cans will argue that in the mainstream, it cannot be considered “true graffiti”. Can graffiti go mainstream, or does it need to stay an underground movement to maintain its historical impact?