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Leonardo da Vinci used Paint
As times change and opinions evolve is it finally time for us to embrace graffiti and call it an aesthetic piece of art

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You approach the abandoned building under the veil of darkness. Your heart pumps rapidly as you pull out the spray can. Your eyes dart left and right scanning for trespassers. You feel powerful. You feel vulnerable. You feel euphoric as the droplets of paint explode on the wall of the abandoned building. Once you disappear into the night. All that is left to show for your efforts is the tag… Guerrillaz Warfare.

You??™re the latest person to get bitten by the graffiti bug and now as a sufferer you??™re diagnosed as being a ???vandal???. You??™re one of the 15% out of the 59.8 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom who takes part in graffiti. The difference between the respected painter and you is that one uses a canvas and the other uses the very environment they live in.

However graffiti writers are no different to you and me. In fact, they could be
praised for going further from the archaic practice of paintbrush meets canvas as ???Tarzan meets Jane??? and instead using the external world as their creative pedestal. A future with the graffiti bug doesn??™t seem all that bad.

It definitely doesn??™t seem all that bad, when cases such as veteran graffiti writer Andy Seize, a well respected, prominent figure in the graffiti scene for more than 15 years can make a living doing what he ???loves most???. Andy Seize is making a living from graffiti and people like what he??™s doing. Why can??™t we recognise Andy??™s work as being a piece of art More often than not it??™s the social conditioning that we all have been recipient to, Andy goes on to say that in society anything that goes against the status quo should be frowned upon and that because of our social condition to do this we can??™t acknowledge his works as art works. He adds ???it??™s

not the fact that my works aren??™t art works; it??™s the fact that art works don??™t accept my work???.

In fact there are deliberate programmes that try to prohibited graffiti from being perceived as being anything more than a ???nuisance and an eyesore???. Anti-Graffiti Systems Limited (AGS) and the National Graffiti database aim to ???eradicate graffiti from your local community??? – after all, what family would want to live in an area polluted with graffiti
However, following the poll by Bristol City Council which was held for the Bristol citizens to vote whether they wanted to preserve a piece of graffiti done by notorious stencil graffiti artist Banksy. The mural of a? naked man hanging out of a window, while his lovers partner searches for him, was voted to be kept by 97% of the Bristol public. Councillor Gary Hopkins said: ???there is a case of genuine artistic quality and we actually want to keep it”. The overriding majority coupled with the media attention has led to proposals to hold similar polls in all such cases in the future.

The polls made in Bristol and Andy Seize??™s successful career doing graffiti infers graffiti is becoming more widely accepted as an art form. Andy Seize himself recently hosted his own exhibition ???Shake, rattle and Roll??™ at Boxpark in Shoreditch ???the world??™s first popup mall???, ??“ which I was present ??“ more than fifty people came crammed up against walls to get a glimpse of his work. Yet Andy??™s works aren??™t exactly what you would call a stereotypical piece of graffiti, his many pieces or graffiti contain influences from: ???Disney/Marvel characters, street signs, trainers and torn posters???. But Andy vehemently disagrees about this stereotype. ???Graffiti isn??™t just scrawls on your local off licence wall; it??™s about freedom of expression and the ability to imprint your identity on the environment you live in???. Because of this no one should be able to dictate what graffiti should entail. The very environment that it surfaces from has neither limits nor boundaries to its potential and neither should graffiti. To one person the well balanced assortment of cartons and old clothes on the side of the street is beautiful. Whereas to another it??™s a heap or rubbish that should be disposed of immediately. Isn??™t the way we perceive something just our opinion

Paul Cooper 34 has being doing graffiti for more than a decade unlike Seize he hasn??™t received any critical acclaim for his graffiti and is proud of it. ???I don??™t need gratification from my graffiti; if you want to be famous through graffiti then you??™re missing the point of graffiti all together???. Paul goes on to distinguish between graffiti and what he calls ???street art???. ???Street art is the legal stuff, where you have the permission of the property owner to do what you like on their wall. Whereas graffiti is spraying whatever you like on their wall without their permission??? says Paul. To Paul the former is what should be looked at as a genuine art form whereas graffiti shouldn??™t be, or else it would contradict what he believes graffiti is all about.

Despite changes in graffiti??™s perception, graffiti reactionists like Paul still want ???to take graffiti back to the good old days???. We have to take into account the competitiveness of the graffiti scene, graffiti artist Banksy has sold some of his graffiti pieces for over ?10.000 but even
with his international success and fame he still finds himself is locked in a graffiti quagmire on the subject of whether his work should be called graffiti or street art. ???Graffiti Wars??™, aired in 2011 by Channel 4 is a fascinating account of the rivalry between revered underground graffiti writer and self proclaimed ???king of graffiti??? King Robbo and Banksy. The title referring to the strong rivalry the two have for each other and the fierce war they waged where they relentlessly painted over each other??™s pieces as a sign of disrespect.

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[ 1 ]. www.met.police.uk/history/archives.htm
[ 2 ]. www.nationalgraffitidatabase.org/identify.html

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