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Banksy and the Influence of Graffiti

             Whether graffiti is an art form or crime has been a long standing debate between graffiti writers and the public since graffiti made its way into pop culture in the early 1980's. To many, graffiti is not viewed as being art because of its vandalistic qualities, unconventional presentation, and insignificant meaning, but does graffiti's presentation and often-illegal location necessarily disqualify it as art? To most graffiti writers, their 'pieces' mean a lot more than just illegally spray-painting their scribbles for fun; it's merely their identity and a risky lifestyle in which they choose and live and love. Banksy is a world-renowned graffiti artist and political activist who brings light to the debatable art form of graffiti by creating thought-provoking pieces that comment on culture and society and are quite beautiful as well. Banksy's pieces have made their way into the spotlight countless times throughout the world and seem to be loved and respected by a vast majority of people (Kakutani). Banksy, along with many other well-known and talented graffiti artists have gained the respect and acceptance of people within society who always have seen graffiti as nothing more than a destruction of property. But what's is the difference between street art and graffiti? Are graffiti writer's considered artists or vandals? And will graffiti always be viewed as negatively, or is there hope for the future of this art form?.
             In the article, Art and Crime (and Other Things Besides): Conceptualizing Graffiti in the City written by Cameron McAuliffe it was said that "The emergent 'street art' movement increasingly seems to want to distinguish itself from 'graffiti writers' on the basis that 'street art' seeks to engage a wider public audience, while 'graffiti' is written only for those 'in the known'" (McAuliffe 134-135). With this said, I feel that there is defiantly a lack of communication and understanding between the graffiti community/street art community and the public.

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