Is graffiti art or crime?

Essay by h3llknightHigh School, 12th gradeA-, August 2006

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In the late 1960's, graffiti became more than just a political statement or gang mark, it became a hobby and an art to some. But this past time required breaking the law and vandalizing others property. It was widely seen by society as a nuisance and problem. However, to the youth behind this movement, it was the only way of creatively expressing themselves in an oppressed society. However, was this reason enough for the graffiti to be tolerated or accepted as a part of society? Since the 60's and especially the 70's, graffiti has had a great impact on U.S. society. It has sparked many arguments and brought up many important questions to society. The effect of this art is underestimated, and more often than not it is unappreciated. The questions graffiti bring up are not just about graffiti, but about the functions and ways of U.S. society. People usually see it as just a nuisance, but especially today, what is it?

"Graffiti" is the name given to writings, drawings, paintings or scribbling on walls, pavements, monuments and other surfaces of public or private property, which became very common in the second half of the 20th century and can be seen around today.

These graffiti vary from names and swear words written by children for no better reason than that they have learnt to write and feel like writing something, to political slogans, to elaborately drawn pictures, which can indeed be seen as "works of art".

What makes a "graffiti" a crime is not its content or artistic quality, but the fact that in most cases "graffiti" are written or painted on an item of property that belongs not to the author of the "graffiti", but to somebody else, and this somebody else had not given to the...