by Anna Viduya

"I try not to think about the graffiti - my eyes always turn to the corner where the taggers do their graffiti. It's just a habit now: 'Did they hit me? (87) Many homeowners and business owners feel this anxiety every day, yet none of the graffiti artists who create this damage regard these taxpayers feelings. Graffiti artists don't understand the harm they are doing. They feel that the vandalism they produce should be accepted as a positive message, even though in actuality, it may be harming others around them. Graffiti artists, thinking they are doing something positive for the community, can not comprehend the destructive effects of  their actions. If these artists want all of society to see their work as creative artwork, they should turn their backs on defacing public and private property and concentrate more of their time on working on canvas or in museums.

        Graffiti artists unnecessarily and illegally deface other people's property. Although artists feel they are creating something beautiful and creative with their pieces, they are still sacrificing public and private property. Many of these artists don't believe its wrong to deface other's possessions, yet it seems that they would not want their property to be vandalized either. In the article, War of the Walls, Creator states," I wouldn't like no one to write on my stuff' (86). Yet, Creator, a graffiti artist, doesn't understand that everyone else in society feels the same way. Although many of these artists know they are ruining other people's property, they feel that graffiti shouldn't be considered a crime since they are just trying to send out a message to their community. Yet, those being affected by graffiti strongly disagree with this by stating that messages and outcries could be sent out in alternate ways rather than destruction of property. Owning a home or business is a dream many people strive for, yet after accomplishing such dreams, these people shouldn't have to worry about others, such as graffiti artists, ruining what they worked so hard to achieve.

        Graffiti artists state the reason they commit this crime is to spread some knowledge about society's youth, but they don't understand that the public can not appreciate their artwork while being concerned with the destruction of their community. Graffiti artists use graffiti as a form of expression, a way to get their message across to the older generations, but they don't know that their work makes many residents feel threatened and unsafe rather than inspired and stimulated. People like to feel safe where they live, and many feel that if the police can not even control the vandalism in their community, they would not be able to protect the residents from worse incidents of crime. This causes many people to move away from the community. Not only that, the neighborhoods infested with graffiti begin to look so unpleasant, many people fear, visiting the area, causing several small businesses to lose out on customers.

        Each year, thousands of unnecessary dollars are spent by not only the city, but also residents themselves to try to cure this epidemic. The communities are spending large amounts of money to try to cover up and erase graffiti. To prevent their neighborhoods from such destruction, residents and the government pay for necessities needed to repair damages, paint, brushes, etc which end up to be very costly. If these graffiti artists could understand the damage they are creating, they would realize that covering up the vandalism they produce would be much more important than ruining what's left of the city. The money spent on repairs and prevention could be spent on much more productive things such as graffiti events, or graffiti museums, a place for artists to represent themselves legally. Without realizing this, artists continue their series of destruction across the walls of their communities and the lives of its people.

        These graffiti artists, wanting to be respected by the community, should place their works on canvas or in museums for others to see. Many of these artists have good intentions, unfortunately their message isn't being conveyed as they would like it to be. lf these artists want their point to be understood, they should set their work on canvas or in museums where it can be respected, instead of on the streets where it is seen as vandalism. The communities will be able to show consideration for the work and comprehend what the artists are really trying to express. Many people compare graffiti with the works of Da Vinci, art that wasn't appreciated during its time, but the difference between his work and graffiti is that Da Vinci was able to place his work where it didn't interfere so strongly with others lives.

        Graffiti artists are not aware of the brutal effects of their actions. Although they may feel they are doing something positive by expressing themselves, they are hurting many people, not to mention the community by their art. These artists don't see that their message would be easily understood if it wasn't destroying so much property, not to mention lives. They have to learn to recognize that if they want their art to be admired, they should place it where people would value it. Until then, our society is going to be flied with major controversy and debate about graffiti, and the effects of its consequences.

 Works Cited:

 Michael Quintanilla. "War of the Walls," LA Times, July 14, 1993.

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SFSU Student Essays reproduced with permission of the Student(s).
All Student(s) Essays were submitted by Professor L. Barroca, San Francisco State University.
Copyright, 1999, All Rights Reserved
Graffiti Verite' / GV2, International Graffiti Art Competition