Chances are you’ve spotted the bright, vibrant colors out of the corner of your eye, splashed across the wall by graffiti artists for everyone to see, but are these pieces a form of art or an act of vandalism? Within the past couple of weeks, students across the nation discussed the value of graffiti in our #DoNowGraffiti post. We asked students, Describe the graffiti you see in your community. What stands out to you about it? Take a picture of graffiti art in your town and tweet it to us with your thoughts. Is it valuable? Do you want to see more or less graffiti in your neighborhood? What makes graffiti “good” or “bad”?

Check out What’s the Word on Do Now

In the latest KQED Arts video, graffiti writer Neon talked about the early years of graffiti in the Bay Area, staring in the 1980s. As the popularity of graffiti grew from the East Coast to the West Coast, each region adopted their own unique style and technique. Most graffiti in New York appeared on trains, while Bay Area artists focused their attention on outdoor walls. While some may view the art form in a negative light, the practice has gained more respect over the years from the global art community. In fact, many graffiti artists now show their work in international galleries and museums.

Students focused their attention on discussing the characteristics of graffiti that distinguished it as an art form, as opposed to vandalism, often tweeting a picture of graffiti in their own neighborhoods or other cities. The majority of students argued graffiti allows artists to express themselves, but also raised concerns about where graffiti artists should display their work. The majority of students, however, felt that graffiti can be considered an art, as long as there is a spark of creativity and meaning behind the work.

Art or Vandalism?

Students debated what makes graffiti a form of art versus an act of vandalism.

What makes graffiti valuable?

Other students argued about what makes graffiti worth admiring.

It’s a form of expression

Many students argued about how graffiti is another way for people to express their emotions.

Where should artists paint their graffiti?

Students also expressed concern about graffiti artists working on private property.

What does graffiti look like in your neighborhood?

Several students posted pictures of graffiti they have seen in their hometowns.


Laura Robledo

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.

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