Do we condone graffiti as “art” and continue to just accept it and ignore it?

Making art is hard work –not without thought. Art forms evolve and will evolve forever. What remains to be meaningful demands a subconscious intellectual experience–a connection to past and present experiences that we often cannot define. Most graffiti is not new in form and is more a game between a few. While meaningful art can take on the form of a game, this is one we are stuck playing. Graffiti with our give-in attitude is often condoned as “ freedom of expression.” 

Perhaps graffiti in its “tagging “ of territory is very similar in meaning to the mark left behind by dawdling dogs: “I was here, here I am , notice me.” The importance of this often  illegible  activity is lost upon most of us. It is meaningless. Alexandra Horowitz, a Barnard College psychology professor who specializes in dog cognition, describes the marking by dogs as “pee mail” — a means of communication — the daily news of who has been there. With the advent of the internet and cell phones, the opportunity to communicate more creatively is here.

As graffiti piles up upon itself its legibility so decreased it becomes no more meaningful than an overflowing trash can mucking up a public space that was once recognized as a park — a respite from visual clutter and where ownership was freely shared. It’s time to get rid of this passé game of tagging.  We can communicate “no” with a long term commitment to remove and repaint. Maintenance to take back from a few what is all of ours.

Ruth Cutler lives in Ashford.