Monday, May 30, 2016

Graffiti Artists

You have probably heard of one of the most famous street doodlers of the last few years (and possibly ever). He went from being a Bristol artist to an international phenomenon, for his political and social comments via the medium of graffiti art. While Banksy's images would have at one time been a seen as community vandalism or as a sign of a poverty stricken area, his style and vision has in fact made his work a source of pride for any place where he has put ink to concrete. His pieces are either instantly registered as national treasures or sold for a lot of money. This may have given you the idea that you might like to be a graffiti artist too. Here are a few tips on how:

Learn how to paint

First thing you need to do is to learn how to paint. Anyone can be a vandal: taking a marker pen or some spray paint and drawing rude messages or football slogans on bus stops, but if you want to be a real graffiti artist you need to know how to draw, paint, sculpt at a reasonable level and be able to deliver some sort of valid message through your work.

Get your own angle

With this in mind it is good to develop your own distinctive style of graffiti. It might be a particular colour scheme, it might be what you target for delivering your messages or a recurring theme in your work. Banksy for instance uses stencilling for speed and likes to deliver messages criticising government and institutions while referencing pop culture.

Understand that it is illegal

Having said all this, it is important that you remember that no matter how beautiful and bold your statement is, in the eyes of the law it will be classes as vandalism. While it may be important to you that your work appears daubed across the front of Buckingham Palace you may have to settle for a wall in a studio or somewhere that will give you permission. They may even provide you with art supplies like canvases and craft kits and things to help you plan though and this would be especially helpful if you were just starting out.

Stay anonymous

One thing that has helped Banksy, and not just from a legal perspective, is keeping his identity a secret. You may want to do this too if you have any concerns about getting into trouble, but if you're going to do this legally then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Graffiti Art

You can travel almost anywhere in the world, and you will probably see graffiti. Although graffiti art is usually more common in big cities, the reality is that it can occur in almost any community, big or small.

The problem with graffiti art is the question of whether it's really art, or just plain vandalism. This isn't always an easy question to answer, simply because there are so many different types of graffiti. Some is simply a monochrome collection of letters, known as a tag, with little artistic merit. Because it's quick to produce and small, it is one of the most widespread and prevalent forms of graffiti.

Although tagging is the most common type of graffiti, there are bigger, more accomplished examples that appear on larger spaces, such as walls. These are often multicolored and complex in design, and so start to push the boundary of whether they should really be defined as graffiti art.

If it wasn't for the fact that most graffiti is placed on private property without the owner's permission, then it might be more recognized as a legitimate form of art. Most graffiti art, however, is only an annoyance to the property owner, who is more likely to paint over it or remove it than applaud its artistic merit.

Many solutions have been put into practice around the world, with varying degrees of success. Paints have been developed that basically cause graffiti paint to dissolve when applied, or else make it quick and easy to remove. Community groups and government departments coordinate graffiti removal teams.

In some places you can't buy spray paint unless you're over 18. Cans of spray paint are locked away in display cases. In a nearby area the local council employs someone to go around and repaint any fences defaced by graffiti. A friend of mine has had his fence repainted 7 times at least, and it took him a while to find out why it was happening! Certainly the amount of graffiti in my local area has dropped substantially in the last year or two, so it appears these methods are working to a great extent.

But is removing the graffiti doing a disservice to the artistic community? Maybe if some of the people behind the graffiti art were taken in hand and trained, they could use their artistic skills in more productive ways. It hardly makes sense to encourage these artists to deface public property, and so commit a crime. But perhaps there are other ways to cooperate with the graffiti artists rather than just opposing them. Graffiti artists can create sanctioned murals for private property owners and get paid for it.

Maybe we need to start at a very basic level, and find a way to encourage the creation of graffiti art on paper or canvas, rather than walls. After all, who would remember Monet or Picasso if they'd created their masterpieces on walls, only to have them painted over the next day? Finding a solution to such a complex situation is never going to be easy, but as more graffiti art is being recognized in galleries around the world, we do need to try.


Graffiti is mostly seen as a pastime of misplaced youth and vandals or wrongly associated with violent gangs. But for many others graffiti is a form of art, an expression of creativity and a major inspiration driver in life. While most of the general public goes about their day-to-day life commuting to work in an often dull and meaningless manner, they often miss the beauty of art in the form of graffiti that surrounds them in their urban streets.

If people were to take the time to stop and notice these works, it would become clear that there is actually a diverse range of styles and types of graffiti. From the quick and simple tags and throwies to the often remarkable and breathtaking larger pieces, graffiti has a lot to offer for both the viewers and the writers. More people are recognizing graffiti as a legitimate art form with many legal murals and art commissions taking on a heavily graffiti influenced style across cities all over the world.