Street art is something I never ignored. Bright colors, funny shapes, and bold messages always grasps my attention during my inner city travels. Contrastingly, chicken scratch illegally spray painted on a United States Post Office mailbox catches my attention too, but instead of staring in awe, I look away in disgust.
There has always been an ongoing debate on graffiti. Some say it’s art, others say it’s a form of vandalism. Ultimately, it comes down to a person’s motives at heart and if the graffiti has been approved to be there. The presence of tagging in the streets is often looked upon at as “gang territory” or delinquency. “Mural” by NYC Art Cypher shows politicians like, Andrew J. Lanza often expressing their urgency to lock up those who vandalize. On the other hand, several artists believe criminal actions comes with the territory.
In the documentary, Infamy, Earsnot steals from stores and damages property in order to leave his “signature”. His immaturity and egotistic mindset makes it hard for proper street artists to exhibit their work. Earsnot believes his name on a rusty mailbox leaves his print on NYC, but he is sadly mistaking. Committing crimes in order to do things out of spite is no way to live. Don’t get me wrong, street art is beautiful only when done correctly and appropriately. Murals are art, but tagging is not.
Though I am against tagging at all costs, street art has positively impacted my life. Street art unifies my high school community. During my sophomore year of high school, a student named Rayquan passed away of terminal cancer and a mural was created to commemorate his life. The mural was done by a group of students from RAW arts who specialize in street art. The students used bright colors and incorporated everything that made Rayquan who he was into the mural. At an event called “Locks of Love”, the street artists presented the mural to our school and it solidified our community during a time of need. Here is what the mural looks like:
The difference between Rayquan’s mural and tagging is that it had permission to be there and it was executed in a presentable fashion. His life is celebrated through art and it has become a landmark in our community. Art is a powerful thing when used correctly. I’m sorry but swiggly lines and illegible handwriting on the side of a rusty stop sign will never be art to me.
Infamy. Dir. Doug Pray. Perf. Claw and Earsnot. Infamy. 1171 Production Group, 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Apr. 2017. -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3WUXA3V7nY
"Mural" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3WUXA3V7nY