#Arts & Entertainment
The mayor of Salt Lake City
United States of America

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don't come up with a picture to cure world poverty, you can make someone smile while they're having a piss” (Banksy). Graffiti has sprayed its mark all over the world and has become a companion in our daily lives. Whether you’re picking up groceries or going for a walk, everyone sees graffiti in one form or another. Many people find graffiti to be appalling and childish, while others perceive it as art and beauty. So, what should graffiti be defined as? Is graffiti a vandalist act that we need to crack down on and eliminate or a cultivating art medium that could be a breakthrough in modern art?
Graffiti is looked down upon and unfortunately is often associated with crime and filth. However, this is an unfair assumption. Graffiti can be a positive force and should not be generalized as vandalism. There are many instances where graffiti has been used to turn a barren area into a work of art. Like any other art form, graffiti can be an appealing piece that can inspire people in a positive way. In addition, graffiti can be a medium used in the process of making a social and political stand.

The term graffiti is often tagged with a negative connotation, but this form of art has been part of our history for centuries. From the earliest cave paintings in France to relief sculptures in Egypt, humans for thousands of years have used public space to display works of art. However, the graffiti we more often see and associate with had its early beginnings in the city of New York. Graffiti was first an immediate response to modernist architecture. Following WWII, housing projects began springing up outside the city and were designed mainly for utilitarian living quarters. These housing projects separated people and caused a social division within the city. The building projects soon perceived by the people as a “systematic oppression of the lower class” (Eickmier, “Graffiti: Art or Vandalism). As a form of protest, people started fighting back and publicly expressing their opinion in the form of spray paint.

Political and social statements are often expressed through the art of graffiti. People all around the globe are encouraged to voice their opinion and exercise their freedom of speech. However, it is often looked down upon when graffiti is the medium. For example, in 2016 nude Trump statues started popping up all over New York City. It was notably crass and crude, but generally accepted by the public as a political statement. However, when a wall is spray painted with a social or political topic, it is often seen as vandalism. Unfortunately, graffiti has a negative stereotype that relates to crime and is often seen as a symbol of social decline. These assumptions are unfair and mold to a close-minded stereotype. World renowned artist, Banksy, has chosen graffiti as his mouthpiece of choice. With this medium, he has created quite a following. Banksy travels all around the world and creates political and social messages through his art form, including one of his more famous pieces being “Rage, Flower, Thrower”. Banksy was inspired to make this piece following both college campus and street riots. This particular art piece depicts a man wearing a bandana across his mouth, a backwards hat, and hoodie while throwing a bouquet of flowers. Banksy created this piece to demonstrate how “rage” would not resolve any conflicting problems and that the best way to resolve them is through peace. Unfortunately, this notable piece of artwork was painted over because it was deemed “an illegal activity.”

Graffiti can be a powerful and moving art medium and there should be areas where such an art can be freely and legally expressed. We are asking for an area in Salt Lake City where appropriate art material can be placed for public viewing.

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The Start a Legal Graffiti Wall in Salt Lake City petition to The mayor of Salt Lake City was written by Landon Featherstone and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition.