An exploration of the digital world :select four (4) online sources (use a variety of sources) to help you learn about the topic Essay Example

6Graffiti Art

Graffiti Art

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Graffiti Art

Graffiti comes from the Italian word graffiato that means ‘scratched’. It expresses a form of art depicted on walls unlike modern art exhibited in art galleries. It bears its roots from the medieval times when people recorded their stories by scratching walls. Although this was more of storytelling than art, it evolved to include drawings as evidenced from one of the oldest art galleries in the world- Lascaux, France. The gallery shows a cave painting done over 20,000 years ago. The information age evolved the drawings to a more provocative form of expression often bearing humorous, sexually explicit, and vulgar messages. The ruins of Pompeii are believed to be one of the earliest graffiti forms and archaeologists have unearthed vulgar messages such as “Celadus the Thracier makes the girls moan!” (Urbanist, 2013a). Criminal gangs are historically known for using graffiti to mark their territories. This vulgar language and criminal gangs association have given graffiti a “bad name” over the years and governments around the world have banned this form of art. From simple wall writings such as “I was here, 1981” and elaborate colourful calligraphy that is difficult to read for the untrained eye, modern graffiti has evolved to illustrated art that can be found on canvas in art gallery displays. Unlike fine art, graffiti is more rugged looking and very large to be confined in the privacy of art galleries, and is mostly found on building walls, street walls, trains, and subways. It often has a political connotation to it artistically hidden under the mask of colourful spray paint (Urbanist, 2013b).

Graffiti artists are often elusive to media attention only known by their nicknames/stage names perhaps due to criminalisation of the art form in some countries and the unappreciative nature of audiences who view the art as dirt on buildings. One of the prominent graffiti artists is Banksy, a British artist known for his political, cultural, and ethical artwork. His elusive nature, hardly caught on camera has earned him an almost “godly” status in the art world. His website (www.banksy.co.uk) is a testament to this as it has very scanty information about the artist. However, Time Magazine was able to get an exclusive interview of him. His artwork attracts millions in auctions and celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are admirers of his works. An e-bay auction attracted a $400,000 final bid for his wall mural. His building walls paintings attract large crowds of admirers with implied value-addition to the property. However, not all are appreciative of his work. The British council has often whitewashed walls bearing his art but the artists is quick to defend his work as bringing life to an otherwise ugly wall (Logan, 2008).

Although graffiti is not known for its commercial value, some artists have built successful business empires from it. Graffiti Life for example, a leading graffiti-based company in Britain comprises graffiti artists for hire. The artists offer jobs to private clients who want their houses or work places spray-painted in an informative way, to corporate who want to advertise a brand that speaks to the urban youth. They have an impressive clientele portfolio such as BMW, Adidas, Disney, Google, ebay among others (Graffiti Life, 2013). Graffiti Kings, another professional artist based in the UK has created a name for himself gaining approval by the British government. The owner Darren Cullen was the official graffiti artist for the 2012 London Olympic Games. This shows that graffiti as an art is gaining appreciation even from respectable global organisations. Their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/graffitikings) supports various artists from across the globe. It features graffiti pictorials from across the world ranging from simple wall paintings to elaborate murals and gallery exhibitions. Their twitter account (www.twitter.com/graffitikings) provides regular updates of graffiti exhibitions, latest projects, fan competitions, and other exciting graffiti stuff. Graffiti kings website shows some of their commissioned work by corporate such as Nokia, Sony, Adidas, Groupon London among others (Graffiti Kings, 2013).

The websites and social media platforms used in this study provide comprehensive information on evolving of graffiti art from cave drawings, explicit art to a respected commercial art. Time Magazine is a leading news magazine started as a hardcopy magazine that has evolved to incorporate online news with the advent of internet revolution. It has an array of political, entertainment, business, and general world news. It not only has a website presence but also has over one million likes on Facebook. The Banksy website garners many hits as curious fans try to uncover the mask of the elusive artist although it has very little information. Time magazine agreement to feature the artist’s story and artworks shows how big the artist is. The artist has no social media presence but Twitter and Facebook have over five fake accounts each commanding a massive following. The weburbanist website is an online magazine that provides a platform for creative visual art works from around the world. The site has over 1,000,000 hits a month, 619,000 registered subscribers, and at the time of writing this article, it had 150 online current visitors. Household names such as CNN, Fox, and Guardian have written about the site and provided direct links. Graffiti Life owes its popularity from the exclusive brands it works with as mentioned above and features on Google’s top searches on graffiti. Graffiti Kings is a popular site, garnering over 100,000 twitter followers, and over 800,000 Facebook likes.

The web urbanist website provided me with a deeper understanding of what graffiti art is. It shed light on the history of graffiti; how it started and how it has evolved over time. The graffiti kings website, Twitter, and Facebook accounts give current information about the art with real time postings on current trends and exhibitions. It helped me learn about modern graffiti art. On the other hand, the graffiti life website helped me realise that graffiti is not just a social art but can also be done commercially with respectable companies like Adidas supporting the art. Lastly, the Time’s article on Bansky enlightened me on the politics, drama, and controversies that graffiti artists go through.

In conclusion, the websites provide a formal setting of information provision where the editor publishes his or her own views. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter on the other hand give the audience a chance to air their views and opinions often reviewing the editor’s views. Therefore, as a learning resource, both information websites and social media provide a balanced source of information unlike books that present one-sided views- that of the author only.

References

Graffiti Kings 2013, Graffiti Kings, viewed 10 July 2013<http://graffitikings.co.uk/>

Graffiti Life 2013, Graffiti Life, viewed 10 July 2013, < http://graffitilife.co.uk/>.

Logan, L 2008, Banksy defends his guerrilla graffiti art, TIME, viewed 10 July 2013, <

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1854616,00.html>.

Urbanist 2013, History of modern street-art and graffiti continued, WebUrbanist, viewed 10

July 2013, < http://weburbanist.com/2009/04/24/the-history-of-modern-street-art-and-graffiti-continued/>.

Urbanist 2013, Tracing the historic roots of modern street art and graffiti, WebUrbanist,

viewed 10 July 2013, < http://weburbanist.com/2009/04/22/roots-and-history-of-modern-street-art-and-graffiti/>.