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What is Graffiti? Art or city trash?

Graffiti is a form of expression and can be seen in many ways and have different presentations.

How many times have you not seen it? a pristine white wall and suddenly… wham… unreadable painted letters. On top of that they are ugly. But is that graffiti? many think so and with that they stay. But you have to know that no, that’s not just graffiti. You just have to remember those murals that, from time to time, you find in a city. Yes, that is also graffiti. So what is graffiti? art or junk?

¿Qué es el Grafiti?

This form of expression is called graffiti, graphite or painted. Of these three words, the first two come from the Italian graffiti, graffire. In all cases it is a free painting, in a public space and generally done illegally.

This is the definition from Wiktionnary:

Drawings or words drawn on a surface in a public place, usually made without authorization.

Following this definition, works such as Diego Rivera’s murals in the SEP, do not fall into this category, since although the building is a public place, the work was an official command.

What for you is art, for another is not

Graffiti, some consider it urban art, others that it is horrendous. As always, everything depends on the glass through which you look. I found this graffiti at a stop on the roads of the Spanish Pyrenees. We had to stop because between so many curves I got dizzy, and I felt like the drawing on the striped shirt.

grafiti espana

You have to be clear that sometimes, simply, what will invade the walls of your city will be tagging, which is about writing the name, or nickname, of the person in question. It is also often done with the name of a gang. But even for this, there are ways to do it. You will usually see letters without much shape or aesthetics, like the ones in the photo above.

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And sometimes graffiti artists will take it to another level to do something like this:

Obra de Smak
Artwork by Smak

Almost always illegal

Do not automatically think when you see a work of urban art, that it was made illegally (remembering the definition above, it usually says without authorization). Although many works are, either because it is a protest work or because it has not been authorized by the city, there are many times that it is the same business owners who use the services, yes you read that right, services, of creators of street art to do a work for them and thus attract more customers to their premises. This was told to us during the tour we did on Street Art in Bristol.

This street mural was not done illegally

Fame in Street Art

As in all disciplines, in this graffiti there are also people who have managed to reach the top. Achieve fame, so to speak. One of the most important, but not the only one, is Banksy, whose works we could see in Bristol and London.

And who would have imagined?, to see a piece of graffiti that has been framed!, yes, there you can see when a graffiti artist has managed to be famous:

What do you think then? What is graffiti for you: art or junk?

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Soy una viajera y creadora de contenido de viajes con 17 años de experiencia. Mi objetivo es compartir información útil para ayudarte a planear tus aventuras. He visitado más de 40 países y estoy emocionada por compartir mi experiencia contigo.

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