BY: Erika Tejada and Betzy Antonio
You hear the pea rattling inside the can as you try to use the last drop of paint. The sound of spray synchronizes with the pigment of the paint covering your canvas, the wall. As you step back, you take in the satisfaction of a finished piece.
To the artist, graffiti is their form of expression, art that they enjoy. People who love art see it as creative and beautiful, but others see it as gang affiliated or even disrespectful, which is why it is important to distinguish tagging from graffiti.
Tagging is usually a one colored, messily painted phrase or word. Graffiti is multi-colored and a creative piece of art with a message. Creators, like British stencil artist, Banksy, graffiti political messages onto the streets of Britain. His art portrays messages about the British society such as the hopes of British without a worry in the world. Grafitti like this is usually accepted with the small exception of a few conservatives.
Teachers at Animo Pat Brown had different opinions on the subject. Mr.Reed, the principal said, “Some graffiti is ugly and disrespectful, but some is beautiful. There is a negative stereotype around it because it is usually done on private property.” With a similar opinion, Luis Chavez, a student who loves graffiti said, “Lots of people just want to be known, so they go everywhere. There are certain rules to it, places where you go and places where you don’t. New people don’t understand that and just wanna be anywhere”. Respectable street artists, usually express themselves through their art on the sides of buildings with the permission of the community and the owner of the building. This is one factor of why graffiti and tagging are different — taggers do not seek the permission of anyone and tag in any location they want, while graffiti artists seek approval.
Another good point was brought up by Ms. Campos, the art teacher who said, “It depends on the intent. There are some artist that are trying to portray a political message, they want to communicate with their community using the walls as canvases that everyone sees”. Ms.Campos said that she supports graffiti as long as it has a message that represents your community in a positive way. She mentioned artists like Inti and Banksy. Inti’s street art celebrates South American culture while still portraying problems of his country.
Taking a few steps back you realize that your community will have various opinions, whether good or bad. Some will give you props for expressing your true self and others will look down upon you and your work. Street artists should make art with a purpose to bring prosperity to their community but the reality is that young adults will tag for their own purposes, whether significant or not.