Graffiti: Street Art or Vandalism

Subject: Art
Pages: 2
Words: 576
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School


Each of us has at least once paid attention to how, among the faded monochrome buildings, we encountered bright, defiant inscriptions and drawings on the walls, which some consider art, and others think it is hooliganism. Surely, everyone knows the word graffiti which comes from the Italian “scratch”; the author of this art is called a writer (Richardson, 2019). Opponents of graffiti consider it a hindrance or an act of vandalism, which requires significant funds to restore damaged property. However, I think graffiti should be perceived as a way to transform public space or as an open display of works of art.


You can get acquainted with this kind of modern visual art in almost any city. If one does not categorically reject this way of self-expression of young people right away, but looks closely at the drawings, then they can make sure that this art type is special. This is a trend in the avant-garde art of the last quarter of the XX century, a characteristic feature of which is the orientation towards amateur street paintings of youth groups, brightness, emotionality, the desire to go beyond the generally accepted concepts, a professional basis (Cassar & Cremona, 2018). Modern graffiti has become widespread in many countries of the world as an organic part of urban culture, an independent genre of modern art with its own styles, trends and writers — geniuses who create real masterpieces.

A new round of increasing interest of the American and European public in graffiti was the use of graffiti in advertising companies, the creation of graffiti studios, the provision of graffiti artists galleries, and the inclusion of graffiti in hip-hop culture. This art style also gained popularity due to the creation of video clips using graffiti, the documentary “Wars of Styles”, filmed by US National Television, the demonstration of graffiti in Europe as part of the musical the 1983 hip-hop tour and, finally, the creation of computer games with the inclusion of graffiti and its virtualization (Richardson, 2019). Thus, graffiti has become an integral part of modernity, an art reflecting the culture of a new generation.


How many ways and means of self-expression do you think there are in the world? In the era of technological progress, they simply cannot be counted. The possibilities of man have become almost limitless. However, despite this, people have not stopped painting on the walls. Society’s rejection of graffiti is caused by direct associations of creativity with outright vandalism – disfiguring architectural monuments, insulting national and cultural values (Simbirtseva & Porozov, 2019). However, in fact, vandals have nothing to do with graffiti art. Some believe that graffiti is a kind of deviant behavior, very common among teenagers and young people, but this can be easily argued. Vandalism means sabotage, antisocial behavior and is one of the forms of destructive human action. The goal of vandals is disfigurement, and the goal of writers is decoration; vandals destroy, and graffiti artists create.


Graffiti cannot be called vandalism, since vandalism is causing harm or damage, and when someone transforms urban environment and makes better, it should be considered art. Graffiti is a way of conveying information or the mood and beliefs of the artist, and it is created only when the writers have an important message to convey. In my opinion, the talented and skillful creators with aerosol cans have a bright future, as they create masterpieces which help to transform the concrete jungles.


Cassar, J., & Cremona, G. (2018). It’s not vandalism, it’s our leisure: a multimodal study of skate park graffiti. In X. Paradis & M. Minda (Eds.), Graffiti: vandalism, street art and cultural significance (pp. 65-89). New York: Nova Publishers.

Richardson, P. (2019). Where vandalism becomes art. Interaction, 47(4), 50-51.

Simbirtseva, N. A., & Porozov, R. Y. (2019). Visual representation of graffiti in the media environment: Between art and vandalism. Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research, 105(4), 879–883.