Untitled became the most expensive work by Jean-Michel Basquiat to ever sell at an auction in 2017. The piece, created in 1982, sold at the Sotheby’s New York contemporary art evening auction. It blew past its upper presale estimate of $60 million, reaching $110.5 million! This is a graffiti pros and cons essay that highlights the best and worst of this art form. It also answers the question, should graffiti be considered art?
It is all perspective.
Advantages of Graffiti (Pros)
A Source of Money
We do not have to introduce the first one. Graffiti is an art form. Jean-Michel Basquiat is the perfect example of how graffiti has evolved to adorn the walls of some of the wealthiest art collectors. Tango was once considered a dance for criminals and women of the night in Argentina. Graffiti is taking its place among some of the most sense-stimulating art forms in the world.
Graffiti can transform a dull area into a vibrant array of colors and images, evoking thought and stimulating conversation. As with bad people having talent, good people have it too. Some graffiti is made by people that want to make a statement. It is legal if the artist draws on their property. Graffiti can treat someone to some of the most remarkable images.
While some call it vandalism, well-developed graffiti gives an area color and boldness. Many of these cases positively impact the area since the art turns monotone and drab bare walls and buildings into eye-catching and interesting exhibitions. Local authorities do not need to spend money on refurbishment programs while neighborhoods are left bright and beautiful.
Bringing Art to the World
We must consider that the 21st century brings with it different modes of entertainment. Art, in this case, has been relegated to the background and does not have as much prominence as in previous years. There is a notion that art is for the rich, which is true. Few people can afford masterpieces, while the rest do not see art regularly. The younger generation, in particular, does not care much for traditional art forms with the emergence of 3D technology that propagates virtual art.
Few young people visit art exhibitions and museums. This makes the generation notably less exposed to artworks. High-quality graffiti helps deal with this issue as it brings art to the spotlight. You will see the pieces whether you want to or not, evoking emotion and thought. Graffiti artists push it in your face! You may develop an interest in art that propagates further exploration of art.
Art allows people to express themselves in ways that would be impossible if they didn’t. Some people find graffiti as the best form of expression. The best thing about this is that a person does not need expensive materials. The world is their canvas, all they need is an idea and a spray can.
Graffiti also allows artists to paint their opinions on the world. They can choose to elicit a political idea using one of the most visible art forms available. A graffiti artist whose voice would otherwise get drowned in the fray can stand out and make an impact through pieces that evoke emotion.
Some people love art but do not take to it because of the mediums involved. Youngsters may not enjoy traditional art forms such as sculptures and paintings. Others may find the conventional art types irrelevant. So, when graffiti is taught alternatively, it can inspire young people rooted in contemporary art forms to take up this practice.
Disadvantages of Graffiti (Cons)
The story among people in anti-graffiti circles typically involves the notion that graffiti can be a gateway to assault and burglary. Artists differ in style. Some artists, good at graffiti, use it to spray gang signs to mark territory. This acts as a beacon for violent activities that give the art form a bad name.
Graffiti is also expensive to clean up, with the federal government spending about $8 billion yearly. LA cleans almost 30 million square feet of graffiti annually! Despite its art stature, drawing on public buildings and amenities, while sometimes allowed to remain, is considered vandalism. An artist can express their art on private material. Public facilities and amenities need public participation and approval before making alterations.
Graffiti has its pros and cons. Hopefully, it will shed its negative connections in the future. For now, let’s push to use art as a unifying force like Basquiat.
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