Graffiti Information

Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. In modern times, spray paint, normal paint and markers have become the most commonly used materials. In most countries, defacing property with graffiti without the property owner's consent is considered vandalism, which is punishable by law. Sometimes graffiti is employed to communicate social and political messages. To some, it is an art form worthy of display in galleries and exhibitions; to others it is merely vandalism. Graffiti has since evolved into a pop culture existence often related to underground hip hop music and b-boying creating a lifestyle that remains hidden from the general public. Graffiti is used as a gang signal to mark territory or to serve as an indicator or "tag" for gang-related activity. The controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials/ law enforcement and graffitists looking to display their work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing artform whose value is highly contested, being reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.

Graffiti and graffito are from the Italian word graffiato . "Graffiti" is applied in art history to works of art produced by scratching a design into a surface. A related term is "graffito", which involves scratching through one layer of pigment to reveal another beneath it. This technique was primarily used by potters who would glaze their wares and then scratch a design into it. In ancient times graffiti was carved on walls with a sharp object, although sometimes chalk or coal were used. The Greek infinitive γράφειν — graphein — meaning "to write", is from the same root.

The term graffiti referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, etc., found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins, as in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompeii. Usage of the word has evolved to include any graphics applied to surfaces in a manner that constitutes vandalism.

Wikipedia, Graffiti, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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