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Social Injustice: Graffiti

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Katherine Smith

on 15 April 2015

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Transcript of Social Injustice: Graffiti

Social Injustice: Graffiti
Vadalism or Art?
High Art Vs. Low Art
High Art: Art for art's sake, for the aesthetics, for the intellectual, and to edify the viewer
Low Art: craft, for the masses, utility, graffiti
Street Art Basics
Considered low art
"Graffiti" is Italian for "scribbling" - degrading term
Artists prefer to be referred to as "writers"
Graffiti dates back to Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, even the Wall Paintings in Lascaux

Evolution of Graffiti
1960's- Graffiti began to take off in NYC and Philadelphia, gangs and teens used it as a way to mark their territory and bombing as many places as possible
Started mainly with metro trains
1970's - Graffiti as a style took off, artists and writers began to expand the style using more materials and more creative writing
1980's - New York City started to crack down
Side Note:
Graffiti is an American Art form, and the longest lasting. Other art movements that started in American (Abstract Expressionism, etc.) only last a decade. Graffiti as it is known today has lasted over 40 years.
Permanently drawing or writing on property without permission of the owner
Why is Graffiti a Social Justice Issue?
Censorship of the artist
Provides writers with an IDENTITY
Many artists focus on Social Justice issues
Placing laws around it does not stop it, only makes it more dangerous for the taggers
Graffiti is a large part of our culture. Making it illegal says to the community that it shouldn't be and marginalizes it as an art form.
Graffiti Alley
Baltimore's Graffiti Alley, located on North Ave. and Howard, is an L-shaped alley where it is legal to write on the walls.

There are about 150"free walls" in America http://legal-walls.net/#lat=36.707938149131856&lng=-92.38533749999998&zoom=3

When there is a venue for their creativity, there is less vandalism around the city.
Baltimore City Mural Program
The city of Baltimore funds artists to paint murals in the city.
This program provides a canvas for the artists, so they can legally display their work (giving them more time to work, and more safety).
It also prevents these walls from being tagged or bombed.
By sanctioning and commissioning works, the program elevates graffiti into Street Art.
Graffiti Workshops for Youth
London artist SER (Darren Cullen) started a workshop for youth, to teach them new techniques as well as provide a place for them to have a creative outlet in something that interested them.
Business owners asked him and the boys to paint their walls, and like the "free walls", the tagging dissipated.
It provided a career for SER, an outlet for the youth, and a solution for the businesses.
“I still feel that if you give most ‘vandals’ a chance to do something creative they’ll do it – they all want to better themselves. Most guys just don’t get the chance.” - SER
Open Walls Baltimore
Google Art Project: Street Art
Provides a creative outlet in urban areas that often otherwise lack these opportunities
23 murals and installations created by 29 street artists in Baltimore's Station North Arts & Entertainment District
Part public art project, part community revitalization strategy.
Open Walls Baltimore 2 built on the first exhibit's success, featuring 15 artists and challenging them to tell the neighborhood's story
Transforms spaces and brings life to dilapidated buildings with "art as a gentrifying force."
Created by the Google Cultural Institute
Browse collections of street art from around the world
Follow street artists on their journeys creating art
Browse online exhibitions featuring leading street artists and their work
King Robbo
October 23, 1969 - July 31, 2014
English underground graffiti artist
His feud with Banksy became the subject of a 2011 documentary
Real name and birth date unknown
English graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter
His satirical street art combines dark humor with graffiti
Uses a distinctive stenciling technique.
Jean-Michel Basquait
December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988
First achieved notoriety as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti active in Manhattan's Lower East Side during the late 1970s
By the 1980s his work was featured in museums and galleries
Art focused on social dichotomies like poverty vs. wealth and segregation vs. integration
Used his work for social commentary and to attack power structures and racism
A street artist, muralist, and oil painter who paints realistic oil portraits with political and current themes
Considered one of few prominent and prolific female street artists in a predominantly male field.
Cancer survivor and has been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
Commissioned by Gucci to paint the mural "Jessica's Story" in LA's skid row, depicting Jessica Madkiff's triumph over sexual trafficking and exploitation.
What does the term "high art" mean to you?
What about "low art?"
Is this an issue that impacts you or your community? How?
In what ways can graffiti be considered a social issue? Who does it impact?
Should street art be illegal? Can you come up with arguments for both sides?
Can you think of any other solutions for fostering street art while avoiding vandalism?
Has your perception of graffiti and street art changed? Complete this EDpuzzle and submit your opinions.
Kate Stanley and Katie Smith
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