Graffiti – Defacement or Art?




….or art?

Where does one begin

And the other takeover

In the mind

In the emotions

In the thoughts of the one that holds the spraycan aloft

In skill

In talent

Creative expression


The mindless obsession with saying





Does the answer lie

In the beholders eye

That sees everything around her as art, beauty, all edges and meaning – just boundaries to cross over

Into other ways of thinking






A filter applied perhaps

But don’t we all wear them anyway?

I choose beauty.

Again and again.

*I really love graffiti art – some people are enormously talented. The streets and laneways in Melbourne and many other cities are awash with colourful imagery in unexpected places.

I’ve captured many on my phone and always delight in finding new pieces when I travel.

There are intentional “legal” forms of graffiti and street art and then there are random acts of spray

Either way

I still think some abandoned places are all the richer for having some colourful paint applied such as the one I found on the week-end in the header photo

12 thoughts on “Graffiti – Defacement or Art?

      • Yes – placement is another key factor. There are some amazing pieces in big cities – I’m always hunting it sown with my cameras when I travel but I chose this one (in the header) because it’s just kids and yet I think the old building looks better for the colourful addition. Mind you I don’t own it so…

  1. It’s a tricky question. A well-graffitied wall (or train, etc) can be beautiful, but it can also be ugly. The photo you’ve included I wouldn’t call ‘well-graffitied’. The art is juvenile and basic but the comprehensiveness and color variety makes it really appealing. Many of the monument bases I’ve seen graffitied during the BLM protests are the same. They are real and spontaneous and therefore important and beautiful. I’m hoping those empty pedestals are left standing for ever. I guess in general, I’m pro-graffiti, until it’s *my* garage door. BTW, Something I wrote was posted on the Good Men Project website and it includes a link to your blog (I never know what they’re going to post – I’ve given them permission to repost anything from my blog). I wanted you to know. If you’re uncomfortable with that link let me know and I can ask them to take down the link.

    • Thanks Jeff. The link is fine, I’m sure. It is a difficult question because there are so many applications and they are each different. One of those “no right answer” questions unless it is assessed on a case by case basis …and who’s got time for that? 😊

  2. Yeah definitely in the eye of the beholder, even something I see as “art” could be construed as something else by another. Great piece to get me thinking 😊

  3. It depends where the graffiti is placed, Kate. If on a blank canvas, say a wall, and drawn tastefully, then it adds to the environment. If done to deface an existing piece of art then I give a categorical no, e.g. defacing statues. This to me is the same as painting over another artist’s painting, pure ego and selfishness. Interesting and thought-provoking post, Kate.

    • It’s funny Len. I posted this piece with a query but didn’t realise how much people would connect with it. Perhaps because of the protests (which I wasn’t thinking about – defacing other peoples art as you say is wrong – erect another monument more to your like beside it if you must but don’t try and change history through the present moment it never works) anyway where was I after that long side track? Oh yes – on Instagram this post created so many comments ad everyone weighed in. It’s been interesting.

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