Use of graffiti is one of the most common arts among the youth in many parts of the world. The word is from an Italian term ‘Graffiato’ which means scratched. The art started as a way of communication during the ancient eras of forceful leadership. Today, graffiti is used by many people to show their talents in writing and drawing. Before this art could reach this level, it faced a lot of resistance from different ends of the authorities. For example, graffiti have been considered a form of vandalism in the United States for many years. Police departments of various cities have had a rough time chasing after gangs that are always busy on the street walls. Lately, many authorities accept graffiti drawn on authorized properties while those that are unpermitted are still categorized as vandalism. In this paper, with the help provided by writers of popular essay writing service, the history of graffiti as the art grew from the ancient world to the modern lifetime is discussed.
The history of graffiti can be pushed back to the ancient empires of Rome, Greece, and Egypt. During these past eras, people found it easier to communicate through writings and drawings placed on walls or other hard surfaces. Given the fact that writing inks and books were not there in those days, scratches on walls could serve best. Therefore, people scratched on walls to display the messages they wanted to pass to others. After some time, nearly everyone could understand these writings and drawings placed on the walls and other surfaces. Through this, the spread of this art was propelled.
In the ancient Roman Empire, jokes could be seen carved on the catacombs. That was one form of using the art of scratching on walls to pass criticizing information. Prisoners also scratched on the walls of their caves to note some dates and events while they were still in custody. In the ancient Greek, the stone walls of buildings served as the pivot of communication for many groups of people. For instance, protesting groups could write their poems on the walls of buildings for the rulers to listen to their plight.
The case was the same in the Roman Empire where this art of writing on walls became common till some movements against dictators were drove through the writing of names and revolutionary poems on walls. Despite the many pieces of evidence that show this art of writing and drawing on walls and other hard surfaces started in ancient eras of the Roman and Greek Empires, some people still do not consider that as the origin of graffiti. There are some people who believe that the history of graffiti began with the use of paints and sprays on the street.
The modern graffiti can be traced back to the 1960s when the spray cans had become popular in the streets (Gopnik 92). Philadelphia in the U.S is where this art started with a bang. Here, street gangs were so desperate to mark their territories that they had to use writings on the streets to indicate their boundaries. Conbread was one of the first popular gang leaders whose names were all over the streets. By the year 1970, the art had already moved past the boundaries of Philadelphia into the New York City. It is in this city where the use of graffiti has stayed for many years and spread across all the streets and subways. The subway systems got transformed from being just a transport system to become also a communication channel. From New York, graffiti moved to Manhattan where the art grew rapidly till the New York Times Newspaper had to write about it in 1971.
When the use of writings on surfaces became common to everyone, there was a need to improve the art. It led to the introduction of the tag style. The tag style required one to use outstanding tags to label his or her work differently from the rest. The unique graffiti styles and drawings were born out of this move. For instance, graffiti artists could now use flowers, stars, and other drawings alongside their written words. Gang leaders used symbols such as crowns to show that they are the kings of the streets. That is an indication that even many years back, graffiti could either have its meaning or not. Some graffiti are usually just for visual satisfaction with no message intended to be passed across to people.
The next development on the use of graffiti after the tag style was the tag scale. Since the nozzles of the spray cans were narrow, the drawings and writings were thin. Due to this, some information could not be seen when people walked on the streets in a hurry. The artists started to write thick letters so that the sizes of the words become readable to everyone (Melker). The idea of having different colored paints across the edges of the letters was also introduced during this time (Whitehead 25). More attractive styles were seen during this time as gang members struggled to make their streets more beautiful than those of their rivals. It is from this point that the art of modern graffiti has turned out to become a colorful and attractive art on our streets and the subway trains of New York.
Graffiti have been used for various reasons throughout history. It started as a tool for the political activists to air the grievances and demands to the authorities. Some of the controversial poems written on buildings demanded political changes. Graffiti was also used by street gangs to mark their boundaries of operations, trading illegal goods, and peddling drugs. For many years, graffiti worked as the channel used for spreading hip-hop music culture. In 1979, Lee Quinones, a graffiti and hip hop artist, was invited to Rome for a gallery opening. Since then, many hip hop groups have used graffiti on streets to emphasize their presence in the game. Today, different groups of people who feel they are not given an opportunity to talk use graffiti to express themselves (Hedegaard 394).
Graffiti are beautiful writings and drawings that have been categorized under vandalism for many years. The history of the art can be pushed back to the ancient Roman and Greek eras where some bit of the art were being practiced. However, the start of the modern graffiti came in when the spray cans were introduced in the society. The growth of graffiti led to its development from just simple writings to a more attractive art that included drawings. It started in Philadelphia and spread to almost all the cities of the United States. Resistance from the police, who are against the writings and drawings in the streets, has been a major setback to the spread of this art. However, graffiti managed to grow past the resistance to become one of the oldest street arts.