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Home >> Painting Media >> Graffiti


A cursory search on Graffiti on the Internet will throw up conflicting opinions such as “A class of rude inscriptions scratched on the walls of ancient monuments”, “ one of the most important mode of expression of the modern world” …so what then is graffiti? Is it a mode of vandalism or is it a misunderstood form of expression? Well one can say its something in between… Graffiti is most definitely a deliberate application of a media made by humans on any surface, both private and public.

The term graffiti is the plural of graffito, although the singular form is less commonly used. Both words have been borrowed from the Italian language, and along with the English word "graphic", are in turn derived from the Greek, graphein.

History of Graffiti

Graffiti has existed at least since the days of ancient civilizations such as classical Greece and the Roman Empire. The inscriptions of this order traced by pilgrims, between the fourth and ninth centuries, on the walls of the galleries, proved invaluable to De Rossi and later archaeologists in their explorations of the Roman catacombs.

Nowadays graffiti is synonymous with Hip-Hop and is of the 4 main elements of the Hip Hop culture (along with the MC the DJ and Break Dancing). ?However its definitely a misunderstood art form In fact, modern graffiti is a much older penomenon than the hip hop culture. Its roots are to be found in the late 1960's French Student revolution. The cryptic phrases sprayed on walls were the perfect medium for this revolt. Slogans like “Demand the Impossible” or “Imagination is the seizing Power” inverted conventional logic: they made complex ideas suddenly seem very simple.

In the late 70s and 80s a new wave of creativity overtook the graffiti scene. Young intellectuals began actively using grafifiti as a creative medium. Graffiti quickly became a social scene. Friends often form crews of vandals.

Graffiti Tools

Initially pens and markers were used to scribble and doodle on walls, but these instruments were limited in their scope as to what types of surfaces they worked on. So as an alternative was sought in spray-paint. Spray paint could mark all types of surfaces and was quick and easy to use. It didn't take long to make it the chosen medium of application.

As graffiti has grown, so too has its character. What began as an urban lower-income protest, nationally, graffiti now spans all racial and economic groups .

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