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Graffiti: Art or Crime

Graffiti in its usual form appeared around the end of the 1960s in Philadelphia. They were mainly used for political statements and marking the territory of street gangs. The history of graffiti is little known, and different sources give different information about its evolution. However, most graffiti writers consider TAKI 183 to be the inspiration for this culture in New York City. He used a marker and wrote his name everywhere. Over time, he became known throughout the city. In 1971, he was interviewed for an article in the New York Times. Kids all over New York City, realizing the fame and notoriety that could be gained by "tagging" their names on subway cars, began to imitate the Taki 183. As they competed against each other to achieve fame, the graffiti became more and more. But subsequently, graffiti became more than just a name designation. The authors tried to outdo each other in terms of style.


As a rule, a work of art is considered in the context of socio-cultural symbolism. Today the question of the institutionalization of street art is being raised. Now these images are used for advertising, as well as to express their political views. Artists constantly face the consequences of showing their work. Many prefer to remain anonymous. The debate about whether graffiti is art or vandalism is still ongoing. In most countries, marking or painting property without the permission of the owner is considered defacement and vandalism. 
Peter Vallone, a member of the New York City Council, believes that graffiti made with permission can be art, but if the work is on someone's property, it becomes a crime. “Your freedom of speech ends where my property begins,” he was quoted as saying. On the other hand, Felix, a member of the Berlin-based group Reclaim Your City, points out that artists are reclaiming cities for the public from advertisers, and that graffiti represents freedom and makes spaces brighter.

Gradually, with the development of street art, which is only beginning to be positively perceived by the audience, graffiti acts as an independent genre of contemporary art, part of culture, and is also a representation of the urban environment. Some drawings become public service announcements and reflect strong political upheavals.

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