Case Study: What Is Graffiti? Can It Be A Cultural Enterprise?

1334 words - 6 pages

Graffiti as a cultural enterprise

This case study involves looking at graffiti specifically in the Chippendale area. It will follow how it emerged and how it is viewed not only by the artist and the individual but also the wider community. The paper will follow the transition from defacement or vandalism to what is culturally determined as urban art and what underlying social, political and cultural message are revealed.

Simply, graffiti is the illicit scribbling, scratching or spraying of public property in a public place to convey a message. The history of graffiti can be traced back to Pompeii where… and has occurred in varying forms since then.
However, the emergence of modern ...view middle of the document...

This varies from murals and much larger street pieces, which immediately presents it, as am artistic piece. These are seen to be more artistic due the time, and location invested in completion, the denoted and connoted meaning and whether or not an artist has been commissioned for the piece. Many artists continue to remain anonymous die to the stigma and legality still contested in today’s society.

Graffiti continued in this urban art form, as a medium of message, exposing rebellion, tension and conviction until the 2000s. Through the increased popularity was shifted to something that belonged to mainstream civilisation and something that was on tread often linked with urban renewal and gentrification. Artists such as Banksy and Australia’s own Beastman who produce recognisable, creative pieces have contributed to globalization of graffiti.

Urban street graffiti is now viewed, respected and legitimised as art. This contrasts with other graffiti, which continues to be viewed as vandalism and criminal.

Graffiti works differ in skill, motivation and experience and asserts identity, visibility and power in a social and ecological context. Understanding why individuals engage in graffiti is useful in understanding how and if it is determined as cultural especially as previously mentioned, no two pieces of graffiti, motive and location are the same.

Not challenging…
Culture to educate middle class and refine and better the people and their response to their surrounding- graffiti fails this. Leavis elitist approach understands graffiti as not challenging however with the development modern graffiti as political protest aligns with this view as it argues a particular viewpoint and convinces audience in a less obtrusive manner. Art makes individual real emotive underlying message and questions piece of graffiti.

As part of culture hip-hop, graffiti is a lived experience of a certain society or community- Follows Williams ‘everyday culture’. Reflects the ordinary of a certain culture, particularly working class area. Have less access to high culture. Graffiti particularly street art offers culture beyond the instance of a gallery

As a rebellion against high culture…
Working class culture as strong and resilient with on value, beliefs and ways of thinking and being. Graffiti often takes act of vandalism, which is illegal and a reaction to current social aspects. Often why tags occur in public places and on public property, a backlash against government.

Now considered to be popular culture…
A form in its early history to express territorial and economic issues is now used in a much more mainstream realm. As it becomes more commercialised it even sees graffiti and particular artists being used in advertising and other aspects of consumerism. Taking something considered to be specific to a certain culture and an epoch of hip hop cool to make revenue from the mass. Used as a pacifying form, which does not prompt enquiry. Contradicts with its...

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