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Graffiti Wall in Austin, Texas

December 1, 2015

 

There has always been such debate over whether graffiti is considered art or not. Graffiti is defined as writings or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched or painted illegally on walls or other surfaces in a public space. But what if graffiti was legal? In Austin, Texas they have a place specifically for artists to graffiti anything they like on the Graffiti Wall at Castle Hill. Normally illegal and ignored, graffiti here has become valued and permitted. This legalized vandalism has become a place for people to come and appreciate artists creating a different type of art. Anyone can paint on this wall, which makes some consider this wall “living art.” The wall changes daily, either from local or visiting artists; old paintings could be finished or new ones can be created. Anyone can change it any time; it can always change and still be spectacular. The entire experience of viewing the wall encompasses the unique nature of graffiti. There is quite a bit of a hike to get to the wall in the first place, but also there are spray cans laying around for really anyone to pick up and make their mark. Cigarette butts and alcohol bottles scatter the ground by the wall. All of these combined show people the secretive style of graffiti art. Graffiti Wall has become a popular place to visit because of its pure creativity and the art is so raw. The ability for these artists to legally express any feelings or creativity they possess provides such an amazing outlet that would otherwise land them in jail. From expressing political beliefs to abstract forms, there is so much freedom for artists to create. Graffiti is their outlet to send subliminal messages to the world. For example, there is a statement painted upside down that states “Art is not a crime.” This statement represents the social stigma that society has, in my opinion, wrongly placed on graffiti. Graffiti is looked down upon simply because of society yet some of the coolest pieces of art can be seen on walls covered in graffiti. Just because of the medium these people use to create phenomenal pieces makes it seem less of an art form. This is why the legal graffiti wall in Texas is symbolic; artists can be creative without any consequence. There shouldn’t be any consequence for art in general. This tolerated originally illegal form of art acts as a window to the souls of different artists and how cool would it be if more cities had this opportunity. Think about it, if a city provided a giant public space for artists to graffiti, imagine the intense artwork that could arise. It could even maybe stray others away from doing graffiti on places that are not allowed. This could bring together a community of unknown artists; unknown to the world and unknown to each other. But should graffiti be legal everywhere? I don’t think so. Most graffiti I have seen, growing up in Long Beach, California, is primarily gang affiliated. The beauty of graffiti is that it promotes free speech but there is always a grey area with free speech. Graffiti can be quite offensive and inappropriate. For example, people could lash out at the government, certain groups, or specific people and cause uproar or chaos. Graffiti is not always as beautifully expressed like on the Graffiti Wall in Texas. Some people don’t even appreciate the beautiful graffiti though and only see it as destroying art, not believing it is art itself. So then what if graffiti was legal? Would it still be considered graffiti? Some argue no because the point of graffiti is risking consequence in the name of art. Beautiful works of art can grow because it is against the law. The beauty is in the secretive nature of doing graffiti, which is why many artists prefer to stay anonymous. If it were legal, it wouldn’t be as special. Overall, the idea of this wall is interesting, and I completely support it. The government is giving these people an opportunity to artistically and calmly express themselves. Here on the wall they draw their feelings towards political issues; they take it out on the walls and not other people. It provides a safe outlet and would be such a neat place to visit. I can only imagine how awesome it would look and how much change could occur day to day.

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