Graffiti is Art

Updated May 28, 2021
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Graffiti is an explanation to life itself, containing differences in everything it’s made up of, just like the world. The discussion of why graffiti is art, is that it is anyone’s canvas, reality, timeframe, or setting, because graffiti always has an artistic reason behind it. It could be said that graffiti isn’t art, because people might just want attention, it is illegal without permission, and is costly to communities to pay for damages. Graffiti is art because, it is expressive, diverse, and raises community.  Firstly, graffiti will be proven to be art because it’s expressive. Graffiti is represented through people’s expressiveness.

Something to show expressiveness states, “ Painting on subway trains gave graffiti artists the ability to show their art in New York City’s boroughs as the trains make daily trips through different neighborhoods.” (Wilde) In processing this quote, it can be shown that graffiti artists are trying to put their stories and ideas out there. The artists are trying to show who they are to the world. People are going to disagree with the statement that graffiti is expressive, by claiming that the people who do graffiti are just trying to prove that they don’t follow the rules. Some people believe that all graffiti artists aren’t artists, they’re criminals.

Something to demonstrate this states, “ Some 85 percent of graffiti is just tags, and the other 10 percent is gang communication, according to US sociologists who survey this kind of thing.” (Akbar) Every single person who does graffiti is an artist no matter what they draw, because an artist is defined as a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby. All in all the expressiveness of graffiti artists is why they get the name artist. Diversity can represent why graffiti is art. Secondly, graffiti is always different, in its own way.

Something that shows that graffiti is diverse states, “ It adds character to what would otherwise be gray and boring.” Instead of having a dull gray world, people should embrace artistic changes to the world. People might bring up that all graffiti is the same, because it’s illegal and shouldn’t be anywhere. Graffiti artists are linked with bad people. This statement claims, “ Some people also link graffiti to  antisocial behavior and gang culture.” (Graffiti: Crime) This statement is wrong because some graffiti artists use abandoned buildings or get paid to show their art around the world, so they’re not all criminals.

So, in order to claim that graffiti is art, diversity has to be brought to represent that all graffiti is different, like all art.  Lastly, all art raises the attention of community, and so does graffiti. Community is people gathering together over something great, such as art. Something to showcase that states, “ In others, community members work together to create large murals that instantaneously brighten the whole city.” (Carver) These murals spoken in the quote are composed of graffiti art.

It’s easy to say that people make up a community. But, graffiti art has actually brought people together to make something beautiful. An argument over why graffiti doesn’t raise community might be that graffiti tears community down with damages done to the places people live. To show that community is torn down with graffiti this article states, “ For many people, graffiti’s presence suggests the government’s failure to protect citizens and control law breakers.” (Lamm Wiesel) This statement is incorrect because, it’s suggesting the government is at fault for graffiti,  when there is no fault, because graffiti is a design not a crime.

Community is a key factor to why graffiti is considered art because it allows people not only to express themselves, but express themselves together.  The argument of why graffiti is art is important because people shouldn’t be accused of crime because they’re just trying to unleash something beautiful into the world. If graffiti isn’t considered art, then the world will not be worth living in, because most of the artists will be in a jail cell.


  1. Wilde, Danielle. “Graffiti: The Art of Expressive Vandalism.” Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, 19 Aug. 2015, www.iowawatch.org/2013/06/17/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/.
  2. “10 Reasons To LOVE Street Art.” Graffiti Artist & Street Artists for Hire by the Graffiti Kings, 19 Aug. 2016, graffitikings.co.uk/10-reasons-love-street-art/.
  3. “How Street Art Can Transform Communities.” Global Citizen, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-street-art-can-transform-communities/.
  4. “Graffiti: Street Art – or Crime?” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 23 Oct. 2011, www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/graffiti-street-art-ndash-or-crime-868736.html.
  5. “Graffiti: Crime or Culture?” LearnEnglish Teens – British Council, learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/magazine/life-around-world/graffiti-crime-or-culture.
  6. “Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.” Street Robbery | Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, popcenter.asu.edu/content/graffiti.
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