Graffiti- an outlet for self-expression through visual art 4.5/5 (2)

Graffiti 1

The Art, by itself, is an expression of thoughts. The graffiti art comprises of rich and vibrant colors depicting the life and provocative visual cues. This form of art is considered to add imaginary decorum to the buildings, public places, public transport and any such public property. The graffiti art conveys a message intended for the public morality. This art form elaborates the paintings on the walls with the help of the following :

  • Drawings such as sketches, cartoons, portrayals, illustrations, depictions;
  • Writings such as poetries, pieces of literature, script inscriptions and
  • Sculpting acts such as chiseling, carving, shaping, molding the stone, wooden, and metallic materials;

It existed since 1960’s, where a graffiti art was a simple text or graphics conveying a message or a sign of warning. It was primarily used to voice out the vengeful attitudes, evil happenings in the society and to make the public aware of the socio-political scenario. In 1980’s, the graffiti was used by the protesters to pass the comments on the political issues. Although graffiti is considered to be illegal in many countries, many people are caught expressing their intolerable sentiments through this artform. The offenders who commit public disorder crimes, such as spoiling, loitering and causing the property destruction, face the consequences that can result in being arrested, prosecuted, charged with fines or jailed for a shorter term.

Graffiti 4

The Purpose of Graffiti

Graffiti is a form of street art, based on the speed and spontaneity. The graffiti artists take a privilege to convey their message by exhibiting their artistic skills in public. The open wall of a structure acts as a canvas to express the feelings and  thoughts that people are experiencing. Graffiti art may speak volumes about the history and culture of a place and the people, politics, and religion, ideologies of music and art. It could narrate a story that existed in a specific moment of a timeline. Anonymous artists tend to leave an intentional incomprehensible message to support a great cause.

Vandalism is a negative aspect of graffiti that has a potential to cause a threat to the society. Gangsters may display their intent to occupy a territorial boundary. This is done by making an area unwelcoming, instilling fear of outrage in people.

The Styles of Graffiti

  • Tagging – This is the simplest style of the art form; it comprises of one color and the artist’s name or identifier;
  • Throw-up – A complicated tag which has two or more colors, representing the complexly intertwined letters;
  • Piece- A masterpiece is a time consuming freehand painting comprising of at least three colors.
  • Poster- A way to put up art pieces, made at home. These can be posted at any suitable location.
  • Sticker – A sticker is a shorter form of a poster, such as  tags on postage labels.
  • Stencil – A stencil is an artwork to put up detailed pieces. By spraying the paint over a stencil or by using the markers, a more detailed piece is reproduced.
  • Heaven- An artwork that is executed in a place that is extremely difficult to reach like paintings on high-raised buildings.
  • Blockbuster- A gigantic throw-up, usually in blocky letters. aimed to cover a large area in a short span of time;
  • Wildstyle – An intricate version of a throw-up depicting the images with objects such as arrows, curves, and spikes. This includes the work on alphabets such as the fading, foreground, background.

The Uses of Graffiti

Graffiti as an art gives the aesthetic sense to the message. It can be used to beautify a place or a structural construction that’s widely used by the public. With most innovative style and many art materials, tools, and techniques, the modern day graffiti is inclining not only towards the focus of message but also towards the ingenuity of colors and compositions underlying the message. Apart from the public places, it can also be found in the art exhibits, galleries, auctioning houses, historical art centers and museums.

Graffiti 3

A common use of graffiti is to disseminate the political ideas and agendas. The art form is widely used to rebel against the political and the mass media authorities. Hence, the artists should seek the permission from the respective jurisdiction or a property owner to exhibit the graffiti.

However, few places in the countries such as Poland, Switzerland, Australia, Prague, America, France, Taiwan, Denmark, and Germany have started appreciating the graffiti art and have started promoting the art form by sanctioning a site or a lane or an area or a cultural center – open to all artists, free to bring their own paints and express their creativity to gain significant exposure. If the artists are running out of space, then they should seek permission, get their murals reviewed by the administrative curators. Based on the quality and reliability of the mural, the curators may allocate some space and time to exhibit the work. Nevertheless, graffiti becomes an illicit activity if the necessary permission is not sought after.

Graffiti As Advertisements:

Many multi-national corporate companies have started using the graffiti art as an advertising and marketing method to enhance their position in the market and to reach the wider audience. The art form is used in building a brand and boosting the product sales. The legalized graffiti art is being used by companies like tech giant HP, auto giant Toyota, beverage giant Coca-cola, fast food giant McDonald’s, TV channel MTV and many more. Additionally, this art is also used in the many different forms of campaigns, such as sticker campaign or poster campaign, to increase awareness of the product.


Anybody, be a kid or a grown-up, whoever is interested in the art can learn it, as there are many documentaries and dramatic films, books and novels available to explore and experiment with the graffiti art.

Graffiti art is a self-expressive artwork can be used either to decorate or to deface the public area. It is a standardized art form through which many artists express their opinions by remaining anonymous and concealing their identity. The more the artist gets involved in curating it, the more attributes get added into the art. The depth of this art form has a potential to cause a revolution.

Graffiti 2


Authored by Rekha Harish Rao

Please rate this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *