From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Graffiti is pictures or writing placed on surfaces, usually outside walls and sidewalks, without the permission of the owner. The Vandals are famous for their graffiti (giving us the word vandalism). The Romans carved graffiti into both their own walls and monuments and, for instance, Egyptian ones. The graffiti carved on the walls of Pompeii was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius and offers us a direct insight into street life: everyday Latin, insults, magic, love declarations, political consigns.
On the other hand, Viking graffiti can be found in Rome, and Varangians carved their runes in Hagia Sophia. Many times in history graffiti was used as form of fight with opponents (see Orange Alternative, for example). The Irish had their own inscriptive language called Ogham.
Starting in the 1960s in New York ghettos and subways, graffiti has evolved into a (still mostly illegal) art form of its own, using spray cans of paint, with a modern history, master practitioners, and categories of style.
Others regard graffiti as an unwanted nuisance, and many more consider it be expensive vandalism that must be repaired. To remove graffiti, high pressure cleaning can be used; it can also be painted over or, as a prevention, a specially formulated antigraffiti coating can be applied to the surface of high-risk areas.
Frescos and murals are art forms that involve leaving images and writing on wall surfaces. Like the ancient cave wall paintings in France, they are not graffiti, as they are created with the explicit permission (and usually support) of the owner of the walls.
In the 20th century, 'Kilroy was Here' became famous graffiti, as did Mr. Chad, which was a face with only the eyes and a nose hanging over the wall saying "What No...?" (thing that lacked at the time) during the time of rationing.
For some, graffiti is not only an art but also a lifestyle. Sometimes synonymous with "hip hop heads," so-called graffiti artists have gone beyond that stereotype and are abundant even among middle-class white children. There are different genres, from Philly’s “wicked style” to California and New York’s “wild style” graffiti. Graffiti artists are classified based on their style or even on what surface they use.
Famous graffiti artists