When you ask a person, what is Graffiti ?
You end up getting 2 types of responses from them which are
Splashes of spray paint on walls that brighten up an otherwise cold sterile urban jungle or Scribbles of profanity and random words on the walls a toilet by some cheeky person with a marker pen.
Although I have been photographing graffiti for 4 years , I never did research about the history behind it until today.So here are some interesting bits of information I found out.
What is Graffiti ? And Where did it originate from ?
Quick search on Wikipedia (the pastor of Internet) Graffiti is defined as art produced by scratching a design on the surface.
Graffiti started way way back to Roman days when the ruins in the Catacombs of Rome had figure drawings scratched on the surfaces of the walls. Also Romans used to scratch out their declarations of love, thoughts and political views on the wall.
Perhaps that was the Roman’s version of social media where they would share their thoughts for people to see the same way you would share your thoughts on blogs, Instagram or Twitter.
Well inpost Roman times, graffiti appeared on building walls, toilets (ew) , trains , subways and bridges .
Who was the first modern day Graffiti Writer ?
In 1967, a guy called Cornbread (I kid you not, maybe he was really hungry when he came up with his artist name ) , a high school student from Philadelphia had a crush on a girl named Cynthia Custuss. He started tagging city walls all over North Philadelphia. “Cornbread Loves Cynthia” to get her attention.
Ah, love. Instead of diamonds or chocolate, he must have thought he could win her over if he sprayed graffiti all over the city declaring his undying love for her.
Fastforward to the 1980s galleries began to showcase graffiti as artwork and today, you have major art collectors shelling out thousands of dollars for graffiti style artworks done by street artists for example Banksy.
Why is Graffiti so popular in Pop Culture?
Graffiti always been synonymous with the streets where the streets become the public’s 24 hour 7 days a week art gallery. Enjoying art has been democratized because once a graffiti artwork is up on a wall in the streets, anyone can enjoy it regardless of their social status.
(Place: Damai LRT Riverbank Wall/ Artist: Escape VA)
You don’t have to dress up in fancy clothes and go to a stuffy art gallery to enjoy graffiti .
You don’t have to have extensive knowledge on art to enjoy graffiti.
You don’t have to feel out of place that you can’t afford graffiti to enjoy graffiti.
You stumble upon it, admire it, take a photograph or a ton of selfies in front of it (like i do, guilty as charged) and move on to your next destination.
Graffiti brightened your day just for a moment and the interesting thing about this entire experience is that the graffiti artist that produced artwork never asked anything from you (the audience) in return.
Do you have any stories about Graffiti ? Do share it with me either by commenting on this blog or send me a DM at @skylarskye