Graffiti and street art take over

The increase of popularity of street art and graffiti helps to make a more comfortable and unique atmosphere


Sarah Love

Wall of art. Local Jonny’s outside walls have art, creating a very urban setting. The popularity of street art has grown a lot in recent years, making it out to the suburbs.

Sarah Love, trending now editor

Graffiti has been prominent in culture throughout history. According to an article published by Columbia University, graffiti is the writing, drawing, or painting on a surface. The first drawings on walls appeared around a thousand of years ago on the walls of caves. Later on, Romans and Ancient Greeks used a form of graffiti to write their names and protest poems on the walls of buildings.
Modern graffiti in 1970s
Modern graffiti has become more and more relevant, making its first appearance in New York in the 1970s, when people began writing their names, or ‘tags’, on buildings all over the city. Graffiti began to be viewed by the public as art in galleries in the late 70s, and currently can be found in most urban cities in the U.S., including Phoenix and Seattle.
“I think it depends where the graffiti is, if it’s on a canvas or in a gallery, or even commissioned. I think it could be really cool but I don’t like vandalism so if it’s not supposed to be there it isn’t cool to me,” said Ariel Weber, Seattle resident.
Graffiti has a darker side to it. Gang members use graffiti to mark their territory, challenge rival gangs, and to declare their loyalty to their gangs.
While graffiti is often associated with gang activity, there are artists all over the world making a living using graffiti as their art form. The street artist Banksy, for example, has a huge following for his graffiti art. According the the Daily Mail, a British publication, he is estimated to be worth over 20 million dollars. Graffiti has also become very prominent in teen culture, whether they are committing the act or admiring it.
Dad used to do it
“I have been doing graffiti for around five years, my dad used to do it so he taught me. One of the common misconceptions about me is that since I do graffiti I am a bad kid, but that’s not true at all, it really is a form of art,” said Justin Merola, a sophomore.
While street art evolved from graffiti, tensions between the two art forms exist. According to an article published by Columbia University, some cities have commissioned street artists to cover up violent gang messages. In response, gang members have tagged some of those murals. The artists then cover up the tags with smiley faces or other positive messages. In a sense, this can be seen as two different worlds colliding.
“Street art is good because it gives people the opportunity to showcase their work and brighten up someone else’s day,” said Zach Shapiro, a junior.
As graffiti grows in popularity, it creates more opportunities for artists seeking recognition for their work.