The Writing On the Wall

Is Graffiti Vandalism or Art?


Juniors Nicholle Weidner and Cole Peyton stand in front of a piece of graffiti art in Columbus, Ohio.

Jazmine Bragg, Staff Writer

Art can be defined as the expression or application of creative skill and imagination. Graffiti is likewise an expression of the artist, representing the artist’s creativity and imagination. Graffiti work clearly represents an artist’s skill, merely due to how much practice and effort it takes to paint with a can of spray paint. However, this “art” is also labeled “vandalism” and those caught doing it face jail time and heavy fines.

“I feel like it’s kind of beautiful even if it’s illegal,” said Ms. Abby Daniels, who recognizes the fine line between graffiti on the side of a wall or in a posh museum. “I don’t feel like that should change the fact that it’s art.”

Some people pay to have walls and other spaces spray painted with beautiful murals.

“I like graffiti art because of the fact it’s uncensored, so nobody can tell you what’s good and [what’s not]. No matter what, it’s just up on the wall,” said junior Cole Peyton.

Regardless, graffiti often has criminal or negative connotations.

“[I think] it influences people to believe a certain way, which can be both a beneficial and a non-beneficial thing,” said sophomore Nora Hollen, who believes graffiti represents the environment surrounding the piece as well as current world issues.

Well-known graffiti artist Banksy has several controversial pieces in cities all around the world. His artwork grew out of Bristol and London originally. Once characterizing graffiti as a form of underclass revenge or guerrilla warfare, Banksy keeps his (or her) true identity a secret because of the mere fact that graffiti is illegal.

“Banksy [has] several pieces that really open your eyes to different problems that are in this world,” said Hollen.

When viewed as art, graffiti is an expression everyone can see without paying admission to a museum.