In general, graffiti is considered a crime against private or public property. It is also believed that it causes the “broken window effect” which states that minor crimes like vandalism encourage more serious crimes to be taking place in the effected area. However, by studying the art work of Banksy as well as Chilean street art, I have demonstrated that graffiti has another side to it - art. The ideas presented on our city walls make us reconsider certain aspects of the modern society, they stimulate changes even if it is just by starting the thinking process.
Banksy’s approach towards the issue of graffiti being against the law could potentially shock some:
“ Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.“
The above quotation features in “ Wall and Piece”, a book dedicated to documenting his street art before it gets taken away or simply pained over by the authorities. The artist’s style is illustrated in an excellent manner in this publication which makes it truly inspiring to anyone with slightest interest in the arts or the modern world in general. The most prominent reason for that is, the fact that Banksy’s work seem to find some sort of connection to global politics or morality and also the artist has got a point of view which I find rather interesting. Through his work he fights corruption and draws the attention of the public to issues of highest importance. What impresses me most about it, is the way he manages to find a special way to connect those serious problems to humour. The ironic approach to the police or the war never fails to surprise the audience while making sure it will stay in their memory for a long time.
On the other hand, the second book I studied develops an overall approach towards street art. It seems to present to whole picture of it and the ways it has developed in one country, in this case Chile. It has been really interesting to observe the process of graffiti being introduced and then developed into something unique, a style that is only to be found in that country. Considering Chile’s geographical location it is understandable that most of its street art influences come from the neighbouring countries or otherwise other South American countries. However recently, more and more European connections are to be found on the walls of Santiago and the big cities of Chile. Blek le Rat and Banksy had their own influence on some of Chilean graffiti artists as well. I found it incredible to discover how many connections are made between street artists globally. Everyone in the industry seems to be aware of what is happening on the graffiti scene in different countries, on the opposite ends of the planet.
I love street art, I adore most of its aspects. The unexpectedness of it’s designs, colours, shapes, patterns and characters as well as the randomness of its places of presentation. In my opinion, there is something that connects street art, especially graffiti to shamanism. I do not quite understand this part yet, probably because I have not experienced the emotion of the artist behind the work. I have no idea how amazing the rush of it feels and how much satisfaction it gives to its author. I guess I will never know fully how it feels. Not unless I try it for real.