Graffiti Then and Now

Early on in the 1970’s, Graffiti art began to appear as one of the most creative arts in the 20th century. It has since become a vehicle for expressing artists’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Back in the day, subway cars were the canvas of choice for most graffiti artist, but today artists are choosing to decorate subway cars, walls on buildings, streets in the neighborhood, or any other place where their work can be seen. The only limitations to where graffiti work can be put up are physical. Anything the artist can reach can become a canvas.

Graffiti art has been created to serve many moods; it can serve as a memorial or function as a role model for the community. Companies to promote a product have even used graffiti such as Coca Cola. There are many legitimate uses for graffiti in today’s society, but graffiti remains illegal primarily because it involves the “defacing” of private property. Groups such as the Nograf Network, make it their mission to try to rid the community of graffiti because now of days gang use it to claim territory or just to vandalize property and also because the graffiti artist rarely has permission to mark the surface they choose to write on. 

So, in some respects, they have a point. There are some legal outlets for street art (for instance, some communities cover unsightly building walls and pull-down gates with murals by graffiti artists) and a graffiti artist can always try to translate their vision onto a real canvas. The bottom line, though, is that while most graffiti is a valid and sometimes beautiful art form it is still illegal so it would be a good idea to do the art on your own property instead of someone else’s unless you can get that person’s permission in advance. Now a day a person can get at least the maximum of 10 years in jail for graffiti on property without the permission from the property owner.