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The True Value Of Street Art

1922 words - 8 pages

Mention the word graffiti and what typically comes to mind is something unpleasant and distasteful like indecent language scribbled on a wall of a store or crude pictures. Most graffiti is characterized as vandalism on property that does not belong to the culprit. Graffiti also displays negative graphics that promote some type of vulgar message such as violence, sex, drugs, gangs, and racism. On the other hand, when the terms “street” and “art” come together, a blast of colorful creations upon blank slates on the street comes to mind. Although street art is technically considered graffiti, it is a type of graffiti with positive qualities, but certain figures in society find street art to be, in some way, disruptive. If used properly, street art can be appreciated artistically and socially. Despite the negative stigma attached to graffiti, street art has emerged as a progressive valuable art form whose vast history, surge in popularity, and urge for social change warrant its classification as a fine art.

Those who argue that street art is nothing more than graffiti that violates personal property do not characterize it as a valuable art form. These critics argue that some places cannot afford to keep the property clean; if it gets really bad, the whole building will have to be painted, and that is expensive (O’Lear). Unwanted artwork will cause economic problems with removing the art from illegally used canvases such as building, billboards, and sidewalks. Critics also uphold that there are numerous outlets that people could use that are more tasteful and less destructive. (O’Lear). Turkey Stremmel, the co-owner of Stremmel Gallery, suggests that there are other ways to create the murals artists plaster on street surfaces. Artists can easily purchase a different type of medium and create a piece of art. Thus, critics deem the use of the street as unnecessary, as well as, expensive to get rid of. City officials say street art to be a “public nuisance that degrades the quality of life in neighborhoods and communities across the city” (Costello). The amount of street art creates an image about the city that the city officials believe is negative and displeasing. Finally, critics believe as well as damaging property, street art can encourage gangs to continue with their tagging methods, thus upholding gang related activity. After the “Art in the Streets” exhibit in Los Angeles, “an apparent increase in vandalism in the local area” created controversial speculation (Greiner). The show casing of street art and graffiti sent out a message to other artists that basically stated the approval of street art and graffiti.

However, in the recent years, street art remains a valuable form of art due to morphing into a cultural trait. Tracing the roots of the street art that exists today, people have been leaving their marks on walls for centuries (“Tracing the Roots...”). Many of the pieces have been recovered, valued, and treasured, serving to carry on a...

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