Clever graffiti – Art or Vandalisim

it's a difficult one, I suppose I would say I am against graffiti and to be completely honest, as a teenager I actually didn't do much more than write my name on a lamppost, which I suppose was actually called 'Tagging', The thing is, this is actually the kind of graffiti I now hate most. Writing your name on the side of someones house in blobby, bulky letters in a dated style of typography is horrible and a bit embarrassing. I wont lie though, i liked to decorate the cover of all my text books in school and of course on my school bags etc , 'nick was ere' or the favoured rap group's logo or the like, but I always felt wrong about doing it on private property. I get angry when I see some pathetic two second scrawl on the side of the wall or bus shelter or even public transport but when I see something that has been done with a stencil and there is a clever message or there is simply something typographic about it then I don't feel the same at all, in fact, truth be told I usually grab a picture of it on my phone. I think that as a graphic designer sometimes the message or the application of the message can make you ignore the fact that it is an act of vandalism and not a public viewing of a talented wall sprayer. 

As always the discussion of acceptable street art/graffiti has to include banksy's work, and although I just dissed graffiti, I do have to say I am a fan of the witty style and political nature of his scribblings and others like him. Without sounding selfish I would say that I am amused by many of these works and find them OK with regards to how they become part of the of the area they are applied etc. Of course, I do not own my own house and have not had to make this decision knowing that any of these works could be on my own property. Anyway, there is much to be learned to watching the film Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010) which explores/follows the globally recognised graffiti artists Banksy and Shepard Fairey, but the worst thing about it is that it really makes you look twice at the art world and how we are controlled by the media and hype. I am not sure if it is real or not, Banksy even says, quote: "we ignore things right in front of us – the elephant in the room", maybe the film is the 'elephant in the room' and Banksy has just Punk'd us all.

Below is a video showing a lot of Banksy murals and snaps from the film etc. 

My favourite examples of lesser known pieces of clever street graffiti that i found around the web(Banksy has one is in there too.) You can even go to the banksy forum where you can talk to other fans and apparently exchange messages with the man himself. graffiticreator