Communicating Graffiti / Balancing Between Art and Vandalism

 

I consider myself being a proud citizen of my city Vilnius. The more I explore it, the more magic I discover here. And this is not only about the admirable Old Town with its red roofs and dozens of churches embodying different styles of architecture. For me, the magic in Vilnius can be found in those rather abandoned street-ends, shabby buildings or on grungy walls. These walls painted by many muralists and graffiti artists tell many interesting stories, which are unique in their substance and rich in their expressive formats. Recently, I decided to take a closer look at some of these pieces of art and out of a sudden, some observations hit me. Let me share them with you!

by GRETA UBAITE

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Like it or not, but graffiti and wall art to a smaller or larger extent affect all of us because it exists in our public spaces, streets, and communities. I think, that this could be said about any kind of art – doesn't matter you like it or not, if it causes you an emotional reaction or awakens your feelings, the author did his job right. In graffiti, there are two sides confronting one another. The freedom of expression versus the damage to someone's property. Even if we do not find a graffiti tag on the new building wall appealing enough, there is still something at least worth giving a thought to. 

By capturing street art in Vilnius, I recognized some fundamental and really charming things about it. Talking about graffiti, first of all, it is competitive. This means it is leading to a personal development. Graffiti has its own language, which is used by those who work in this respective scene. By meaning, not only the number of tags a person could make by not being caught but also developing the painting speed, techniques, searching for interesting areas and overcoming various obstacles for a purpose of leaving the his/her unique personal message.

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Secondly, graffiti and wall art can be smartly incorporative with its surroundings, making unaesthetic things to stand out and uninteresting areas to draw an attention towards themselves. There is an example of smart art in Vilnius Street, in the Old Town. Thirdly, it could be a creative tool for advertising. The graffiti and wall art can have a website address on it or depict particular advertised services as well. Fourthly, graffiti can be provoking or make us doubtful about our usual everyday actions. It has the power to be socially conscious, to talk about local or global problems. Lastly, street art is a great inspirational source. For a culture to deepen in, for techniques to learn from.

To sum up, graffiti and wall art have various ways of expression. The most important – it is the voice of contemporary culture. If we, as a community, can recognize the value of it, then judging it as vandalism becomes less appealing. If it still does not satisfy you, why not reconsider the balance between art and vandalism once again by turning it into something more advantageous to our generation?

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