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Graffiti Art In New York City And It’s Subways

2037 words - 8 pages

We all know what Graffiti art is; well we think we know because of the “modern” graffiti art that is still occasionally seen. However Graffiti Art has been tracked back all the way to the time of 1851. Firstly graffiti comes from the Italian word “graffiato” meaning scratched and was later called graffiti through the media as we see it today. ‘Additionally early forms of graffiti were seen back in ancient Italy at the ruins of Pompeii’ in 1851. “Painting on sidewalks, and other forms of graffiti, is still common in Rome today. Whereas Romans consider graffiti as a form of urban art, many westerners consider it vandalism unless property owners give consent to the graffiti artists.” (Cyprus, Sheri, and O. Wallace. "What Are the Origins of Graffiti?" WiseGeek. Conjecture, 02 May 2014. Web. 08 May 2014.) Even though all this might seem surprising to some and maybe even considered arguable to not be graffiti; I want to go in depth on graffiti art in America.
Graffiti art was used by gangs as a way to mark their territories. They were also used to warn away any police and of course any other gangs to enter that area. Lastly these gang graffiti signs were used to either memorial a fallen gang member or to show that they are in the business of selling drugs. “Deanna Rodriguez, head of the Brooklyn district attorney's gang unit said ‘gangs have long utilized graffiti as a coded means of communication, but to the untrained eye, it looks like mere vandalism.’” (Belenkaya, Veronika. "Gangs Use Graffiti as a Warning." NY Daily News. Daily News, 12 Feb. 2008. Web. 02 May 2014.) What she is trying to say is that to some people, graffiti is just vandalism on a wall, no harm done but if you knew how to read the graffiti it would be different. An example of how these gangs used graffiti, “a red letter "B" with an arrow pointing upward indicates the presence of the Bloods gang. If the "B" is crossed out with a blue-inked "C" or a pitchfork - the Crips gang is trying to muscle into the area and is disrespecting the Bloods' insignia."When you start seeing crossouts, violence comes shortly thereafter," said Rodriguez, whose work on gang issues keeps her on their trail.” (Belenkaya, NyDailyNews.com). These indications show graffiti was used by gang members as a means of communication; to show if there is any nearby danger and to see if there might be an encounter between two rival gangs. You just need to know how to read it and how to understand it. Things like this could lead to reasoning why graffiti art was not taken in and viewed as art but many critics and is still not viewed as art. They just need to know the history behind the art itself and would then consider it vandalism because of what it once was and still is used for.
Then came about a strong push and force in the graffiti art world and its movement, which occurred in the 1970s in New York City. However it is important to note that during the 1960s and 1970s crime had skyrocketed. This was because of a...

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