For city-dwellers, or suburban motorists traffic stalled underneath an overpass, graffiti is as ever-present as cracked sidewalks or rain falling on umbrella-less days. Sprayed across a slab of concrete or brick, graffiti can appear corse, crude, even dangerous. Never forget that being on the wrong side near a splash of blue or red spray paint can place you squarely in rival gang territory.
However, this association sadly lingers when graffiti strives to be something more than lines of demarcation and instead tries to morph into full-fledged self-expression.
All across the world thousands of talented artists have applied their abilities, appropriating this form of urban open-air expression and making it their own. Beautiful murals and impromptu alleyway frescos populate most urban centers, adding color to otherwise monotone drabness.
Yet, an alarmingly few number of people consider this to be art. Banksy aside, most graffiti is branded as signs of urban decay, poverty, or the doorknob to a civic set shooting gallery. Once judged the offending tag is power washed away by the proper authorities.
Perhaps graffiti is still hopelessly, inexorably linked to urban violence in the minds of those that watched inner cities’ slow decay during the 70s and 80s. The understanding has not yet turned the corner that this form of art has already traversed. Nevertheless, in his time, Shakespeare and his contemporaries were seen as disturbances to the public good and routinely banned and censored. Maybe time is needed to expunge the ill will sprayed at graffiti that was once aimed at this highly lauded pillar of artistic excellence.