Effects Of Graffiti Essay, Research Paper
What constitutes as graffiti? Grafiti is defined as any type of writing on a surface of any type. If that is the case, then would a cave mans drawings be considered graffiti? If it is considered graffiti, then what is different about then and now that would change the worlds views about graffiti. Why is graffiti against the law? Is graffiti an art form? Can something that is done against the law, and with a total disregard for others property be considered art?
The definition of graffiti is: graf+fi+to n. pl. graf+fi+ti – Usage Problem 1. A drawing or an inscription made on a wall or other surface, usually so as to be seen by the public. Often used in the plural.
[ Italian, diminutive of graffio a scratching, scribble probably from graffiare to scratch, scribble probably from Vulgar Latin *graphi|re to write with a stylus from Latin graphium stylus from Greek grapheion, graphion from graphein to write; See gerbh- in Indo-European Roots.] Usage Note: The form graffiti, based on the Italian plural, is far more common than the singular form graffito. Graffiti is often used as a singular noun. When the reference is to a particular inscription (as in There was a bold graffiti on the wall), the form graffito would be etymologically correct but might strike some readers as pedantic outside an archaeological context. There is no substitute for the singular use of graffiti when the word is used as a mass noun to refer to inscriptions in general or to the related social phenomenon. The sentence Graffiti is a major problem for the Transit Authority Police cannot be reworded Graffito is . . . (since graffito can refer only to a particular inscription) or Graffiti are . . . ,which suggests that the police problem involves only the physical marks and not the larger issue of vandalism. In such contexts, the use of graffiti as a singular is justified by both utility and widespread precedent.
Graffiti is very interesting in the fact that it is everywhere, yet people don’t seem to either notice it or care about it. Graffiti has been around since history can recall, and yet very few individuals have actually done anything to try to stop it from taking place. I have seen graffiti all over the place. A few examples would be under bridges, on the walls of many different buildings, and just about anywhere else you could possibly imagine. People place graffiti in bathroom stalls, on desks in school, and even on trains and tractor trailers.
Graffiti is even considered a form of art by some individuals. There were a few web pages and books that displayed pictures of graffiti and called it art. I don’t understand how they could consider the destruction of someone else’s property a form of art, but they sure did.
Another book that I have looked at, talks about graffiti as “little peepholes into the minds of individuals.” He speaks of how the majority of all history is recorded in the ruling classes point of view, and how if the graffiti was somehow recorded down, then we could have an insight into how the common man felt.
Socially graffiti has many effects. If a town is covered with graffiti, it is typical to assume that the town is full of lower class people. This will drastically affect what types of people move into this town. The presence of graffiti will attract people to the town who will most likely either contribute to the graffiti, or don’t care about the appearance and therefore don’t try to correct it. If the town already looks bad, people will use this as an excuse to go out and commit more acts of graffiti. Graffiti definitely is a social problem that is hard to correct because of its ability to get larger and larger until its too hard to tackle in conventional methods.
Graffiti left untouched is proven to tell the vandal that no one cares about the graffiti being there, so others are a lot more likely to commit acts of graffiti. Once a wall is hit, it is 10 times more likely to be hit again. A sociologist named Nathaniel Glazer says, “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all of the rest of the windows will soon be broken. One unrepaired window is a sign that noone cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing” (www.dodgecity.org).
Economically, graffiti can be devastating. Graffiti can cause property values to drastically decline, causing people to not rent or buy houses in that neighborhood. Most people are not going to want to move into a town that is full of graffiti because it gives the town a “run down” appearance. This would force the people to look for homes in other areas, therefore local businesses would notice a loss of money. The loss of money would cause businesses to go bankrupt and look elsewhere for a place to work, eventually causing the town to be totally empty.
Throughout my life I have committed many acts of graffiti. Some of them I had realized were acts of graffiti, but some of them I didn’t. I remember in school, some other student and I had a conversation on a desktop. Each of us had that class at different periods and would leave messages for each other. I hadn’t realized that it was graffiti at the time, though I did know it was wrong. Graffiti covers so many things that sometimes we don’t even notice that it is graffiti that is being done.
Many people would agree with me when I say that I believe that most acts of graffiti are done for recognition and territorial behaviors. I remember when I was around the age of 14 to 16, my friends and I would go under the bridge near my house and paint obscene things with paint we stole from my neighbors. We would “tag” the bridge with our designs to show that the bridge was our “turf.” Most people in the town didn’t care that we did that because it was “out of sight, out of mind” so we continued to do it.
I still remember one day when we went down there and everything was covered over. Just to spite the people who painted over our graffiti we drew even more than was there before. Not only did we put up more graffiti, but the new graffiti was worse in nature than the previous stuff. We felt the need to prove that the bridge was our “turf.”
The beliefs of why people do graffiti that I just described are not only my own feelings because many anti-graffiti organizations also realize this. Knowing this information they are learning how to fight graffiti and to catch graffiti artists in the act. One of the main things they’ve learned is that going over a graffiti covered area one time is not nearly enough to stop the graffiti from taking place. You have to continue to remove it, and you must remove it within 48 hours. This is the number one reason that graffiti is so widespread throughout the world and history. Not very many people have the commitment that is required to fight graffiti and so it is allowed to go unchecked throughout the world.
Another neat anti-graffiti plan I have heard of is my favorite of all plans. It basically is a way of defeating the graffiti artist through graffiti itself. The plan was named Operation Clean Slate (OCS) and was conducted in Costa Mesa, California where the graffiti had become really horrible. Seeing the graffiti a man named Michael Howard decided that he would start Operation Clean Slate. What he did was he gathered volunteers and they all painted murals over where there was graffiti. One account of the success of this operation was an engine parts repair shop. It was a constant victim of graffiti, but since the mural was painted there it hasn’t been touched in 3 years. I find that to be quite a remarkable feat.
I have learned many things because of this report, such as graffiti’s destructive capabilities, and a few good tactics on how to combat it. I have even learned of the many forms that graffiti can disguise itself as so that I can avoid future problems with committing future acts of graffiti.
1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition 1992 Houghton Mifflin Co. Electronic version lic’d from and portions 1995 INSO Corporation. All rts rsvd.
2. Graffiti http://www.nhwatch.asn.au/graffiti.htm page was observed on June 25, 1999
3. Graffiti and it’s Effects on a Community. http://www.dodgecity.org/ganggraf.html page was observed on June 30, 1999
4. The Graffiti Management Programme. http://www.graffiti-man.com/ page was observed on June 26, 1999
5. Operation Clean Slate. http://www.pointsoflight.org/dpol/winners/dpol_980105.html page was observed on June 27, 1999
6. OzNoGraffiti. http://members.delphi.com/oznograffiti/index.html page was observed on
June 30, 1999
7. Reisner, Robert Graffiti. Cowles Book Company, Inc.; New York 1971.