Graffiti: Timeless Ink

The word “Graffiti” (plural graffito) is used for writings or paintings of a specific style or form on any property. It includes engraving to form a pattern or design on surfaces of rocks or walls to confer some knowledge. This art has been practiced since ancient times by Greeks and Romans. In today’s world, this art has been imbibed by many cultures and is of special interest to the youth. Its involvement with hip hop and punk rock music has shown tremendous endeavor and serves as a flavor or signature. It has also been used to earmark communities and to appreciate places and art. It has many styles and forms that have developed from year to year. Graffiti has been surrounded by controversy. Its declaration as a “no art” has been much debated. The consensus has been reached on considering graffiti as forms that symbolizes emotions. Today, it is accepted as a creative expression and not vulgarity or vandalism.

What was in the ancient graffiti?

The art of graffiti dates back to 20000 B.C. It is one of the most elegant pre-historic arts. It includes everything from wall paintings to engravings in the caves. In ancient sepulchers, it depicts messages or lifestyles of the people who made them. The tools used by early artists were not specific: animal bones or stones shaped to the sort of use. The safaitic language, found its origin in graffiti. This language was predominantly used in 1st century B.C. In recent history, graffiti was used by the politicians and illegally by certain gangs as gang tags to mark territory or by protestors on public property. Certain politicians used graffiti to gain popularity in general public (today such actions are seen as punk scenes). It was also used by student groups and various political and general groups to generate communal harmony. In one controversy, priests in the churches were denied to perform arts because it was seen as an act of graffiti. This controversy is still blurs the line between right and wrong.

Modern graffiti – growing and evolving

Making its mark in fashion, graffiti entered in modern era through dance and music, hip-hop, and rock. The graffiti of rock and roll group were figurative of their essence and popularity. With prominent use in pop culture, it also found its use in literary activities, modern art paintings, memorial writings, and trade and house dwellings for decoration purposes. Certain tags became indicative of places like brothels within a community. Soon it came under criticism of being used illegally by certain bad elements in society to create terror or false image in public perception. Graffiti was also used for commercialization in America for Sony’s PSP and PlayStation 2 and goods like Coca-Cola.

Graffiti has developed through the times and globally and there have been different experimentatiosn in styles. Developments were more predominant in South America and Middle East. South America has a tradition of graffiti especially in Brazil. Brazil’s São Paulo gained special appreciation by many artists of this art form and is a source of inspiration to many modern graffiti artists. Graffiti has evolved slowly in the Middle East with sectoral involvements of Israel, UAE, and in Iran. Religious works of graffiti pertains mainly to Israel. In recent times, experimentation with this art involves use of magnetic diodes, abstract shapes and mixing of various other arts.

Graffiti is an ancient art which survived many modifications and influences and has formed various styles and imprints in different communities. Modern art has gained popularity among the youth as they find it a mode of expressing their views. Graffiti is an important artform that spreads knowledge from ancient times. Today, it provides a view of the past. Graffiti exists as both a legal and illegal activity and stirs up the debates of right and wrong. At the same time, graffiti is a style of defining thoughts and is an aspect of trade and commercialization. 



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