Graffiti artists push definition of art

Mariah Guerrero

Every brush stroke, pencil sketch, pastel, primary, and secondary color added to artwork signifies something an artist deeply feels. The same goes for writers like the Norseman staff. Every key we press, and article we submit is our artwork, and expresses what we think about a topic. Believe it or not there are many different types of artists. Although there is one type of art that isn’t typically called art: graffiti.

His name is Banksy, or at least that’s the name everyone calls him. He is a mystery graffiti artist who started out in Bristol, United Kingdom in an underground group. He typically creates anti-war, anti-establishment, and anti-capitalist graffiti stencils and freehand pieces. In 1997, he became most known for his piece called “The Mild Mild West” that depicts a life size teddy bear lobbing a molotov at three British riot police. This may not seem like the most appropriate thing to speak of in a high school newspaper, but most of his pieces speak about the truth of today’s society. Although not all of Banksy’s artwork is serious, some of it’s ironic or funny. A famous ironic piece of his is “Girl Frisks Soldier” which looks just like it sounds. The question now is not who Banksy is, but is graffiti art?

I would personally consider only one specific type of graffiti to be art, and that is graffiti that is used to make a statement and has emotional appeal to those that see it. I am in no way promoting the defacing of property, but instead I am promoting artists to express their feelings in any way that they can, and if that is by graffiti art then spray away.

Graffiti is art in the same way writing and playing an instrument is art. To find out whether something is truly art is to define art, and many people get the definition of art mixed with the idea that art is just beauty captured by the artist. Although beauty is captured, that is not the full characterization of art. The most accurate definition of art is creating an emotional response in the person that is experiencing the art, and plenty of graffiti artists have done this already. Meek, an Australian artist inspired by Banksy, created a piece that has taken the breath away from those who have seen it. It features a homeless man sitting crossed legged with a cup in front of him and a sign that reads “keep your coins, I want change.” Many people rant and rave online and on the streets about whether artwork like that is actual art, but it’s a matter of opinion whether a piece of artwork appeals to their emotions. Although, if a piece like Meek’s appeals to many people, then it’ll be considered artwork.

So, if that weird piece of “modern art” decor could be considered art, then why can’t graffiti?