IN DEFENSE OF GRAFFITI Graffiti – the newest phenomenon of our time


Graffiti – the newest phenomenon of our time, which change the appearance of streets. The mention of this word conjures up many different images and associations. Graffiti can be divided into two forms, the obscure or rambling form and sometimes offensive, the other more political and accessible. According to Boyd, graffiti is associated mostly with negative ideas and behavior. This has been caused by the perception people form when they view graffiti as a first glance. Most people have their perception based on the offensive type of graffiti. Alex Boyd believes that mostly people need to consider and think more about the second kind of graffiti. Graffiti is a way that people can express themselves, but they also should consider that other citizens want their property protected and to have some privacy. There is also a need to consider the message being passed through the graffiti.

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On the streets in the big city such as Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa which is located in Ukraine, we have seen some useless and destructive graffiti, some that are full of protest, illegible messages and stupid or otherwise empty slogans. Some messages like “Here was Vasya” written on the walls is a waste of both paint and valuable space. However, in the same walls it is not hard to identify valuable and important graffiti that has useful information and some political messages. Most graffiti messages are cryptic and they carry hidden messages that are important and useful. It is too bad that some of the good messages could be hidden in some obscure graffiti messages. So many good messages are placed all over the streets of Ukraine while some have blunt vulgar or hateful messages.

Many artists of graffiti seem to be leading a revolution and advocating for freedom of speech. Graffiti is a simple and affordable way of communicating. In some places like Kiev there are passionate and social graffiti that comments on social issues such as: “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!”, “We demand Freedom”, “The People first”, “Respect for the rights of others is peace”. Therefore, graffiti today is a kind of street art, one of the most forms of artistic expression around the world. The works created by graffiti artists are an independent genre of contemporary art, an integral part of culture and urban lifestyle. In many countries and cities there are famous writers who create real masterpieces on the streets of the city. If an ordinary artist uses paper or canvas for his work, then artists who paint graffiti select walls for their drawings. Ukrainian street-art artists Alexei Bordusov and Vladimir Manzhos, known as “Interesni Kazki”, issued two sets of prints of their works for presentation at the galleries The Outsiders in London and Newcastl. The American online edition of The Huffington Post recognized “Interesni Kazki” as one of the 25 best street-art artists from around the world. I believe there are often enough examples of the tangible type to demonstrate that graffiti deserves more consideration.

Graffiti can be found in yards, at the railway, on the walls of houses. It can be beautiful, able to decorate the surrounding landscape and naturally fit into it, or an inept and cutting eye. For some people, graffiti is a real art worthy of placement in galleries and exhibitions, for others it is vandalism. According to Boyd, defines a vandal someone who willfully damages or destroys things, especially beautiful or valuable ones. It does not seem to me as fair when applied to graffiti, which has the potential to be esthetically pleasing, and may cover a neutral or unused surface. Consequently, people should not just assume that all graffiti is bad and hate it. This type of art is not hated everywhere. People refer to graffiti as “vandalism”, “weapon”, “crap”; it struck Boyd that as much as some people assume this type of art if bad the reference is way too much exaggerated. Therefore to him it is not fair to refer to art as vandal or a weapon. Some of this art is beautiful and very valuable to some of the people who write it. As much as some of the art is an eye sore sometimes it is used to pass on good and valuable messages.

In our world today, graffiti is yet to become legal. It is difficult to establish those who do it or find details of the artists who draw the graffiti. Mostly it is suspected that most of these people are young and they are considered to be rebellious. They have been distanced by society yet some do a good informative job, they could be seeking an identity for recognition. A fair platform should be established where they are fairly recognized and given a chance to express themselves. I believe, these writers should have their own code or rules: do not paint houses that are of cultural value, and do not paint on houses; do not impose your worldview on people; do not write on the names of other writers, especially on other people’s works; do not write on tombstones: the painting of memorial walls is death. Graffiti is really art, the art of self-expression, the art of drawing your own self.


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