Graffiti is evolved from a delinquent street activity to art. Although in many circles, this may still be debatable, in today's popular culture graffiti is recognized as an art form. In addition to wall murals, graffiti covered furniture, pictures and wall murals are elements of urban home décor.
The Origin of Graffiti
The word - Graffiti - is the plural form of the Italian word "grafficar" which means: drawings, messages, scribbles, patterns, or wall writings or scratches. Its origins date back as far as cave drawings in prehistoric times, on walls and monuments in ancient Egypt as well as ancient Greece.
The graffiti that we know today first surfaced in the late 1960's in New York City. At this time teenagers would write their names and street number on subway cars. This was known as "tagging" the way many youths were able to gain recognition throughout the city. Later on the trend was found in Philadelphia where the names "Top Cat" and "Cornbread" were well known throughout the city.
When spray-paint entered the picture, the art of graffiti evolved into colorful graphics. With these new tools gave way to more creative collections of forms, style and color were implemented on the streets. At this point graffiti was divided into two groups: the taggers and the artists. Taggers who lacked the artistic flair would use multiple colors and change their style in order to stand out amidst the colorful collages that were starting to cover the streets.
Those with a more artistic flair were able to use more complicated styles in their tags such as painting straight letters to look as though they are 3D. Artists would also produce large-scale multi colored productions with known cartoon characters in addition to the artist's brand or name. This is the point where graffiti evolved from simply writing or scribbling one's tag to a more creative and form of imagery.
Have you observed the graffiti downtown? If you haven't, then take a peek this weekend and look closely to find out what I mean about self-expression. After checking it out, you'll see that graffiti is not pure vandalism after all. In fact there are organizations or groups of people who became well-known because of graffiti and are now paid well to create it.
One such group is the TATS CRU in New York who are paid to paint on street walls, subways and streets. Tats Cru claim to be "The mural kings who have changed public opinion of graffiti as an art form and have taken it to new heights." It is no longer seen as vandalism.
If you want to learn this art form, start the easy way to become a graffiti king. Grab a large piece of paper-preferably plain newsprint which is cheap, use a piece of charcoal or graphite pencil, and start with a few letters all in caps. Keeping it large will help you when you get to that huge wall that looks inviting!
It is best to take a look at some of the graffiti writing on Google images, you'll find a myriad of styles but choose one you like and copy it (for practice only.) You can use markers but using them on newsprint, they tend to bleed too much.
After you've practiced a bit, stand back and view your work. If you see one you really like and think it is great, you're ready to attack the nearest wall!
The practice run is over and you have chosen your own personal style--but wait a bit, isn't is pretty near so many of the other style you've seen? Can you differentiate it as your own? If not, back to the drawing board for a little more practice please.
The bubble-style graffiti is global; you find it on every wall in Africa, America and even Timbuktu. So make yours unique. How? Experiments as these dudes have done in New York-try straight and curved lines instead of all curves-or try dashes. Yeah, you CAN be creative!
To understand why graffiti is so vilified by the powers that as mere "vandalism" one must know what vandalism actually is. Painter Gustave Courbet (a famous vandal himself,) considered it to be the "destruction of monuments symbolizing war and conquest," a perhaps romanticised view I find difficult to agree with; since when did a bunch of chavs ever justify overtly the arson, for example of a bus shelter in terms of the shelter's socio-economic significance? I've yet to hear one. A more apt descriptor is that of vandalism being the expression of an alternate culture, in this case the "criminal" one.
Vandalism is executed against another's property in any case, and this is to my mind the root of the reason as to why it is considered unacceptable in a capitalistic society such as ours: it destroys the link between being a well-adjusted, functional person's exploits at work, and his material wealth. Tags on cars make them worthless, and consequently the hours spent at work tallying up the monies requisite to buying said car are no longer of worth to the worker. The tag has transubstantiated the work from a point where it can be used to buy things, where it is essentially useless. Needless to say, for the worker, this is upsetting. His car is ruined, and he's wasted his time doing reports on how John Doe broke his legs while sodomising a large black man on a non-regulation surface for the purposes of an insurance claim. The worker thus makes the link that vandalism annuls his exploits, and therefore must be in in opposition to his goals; much like an enemy.