The impulse to leave our mark is strong. The impulse to etch our name into stone, leaves and bathroom walls appears universal. The impulse to create an everlasting image is endemic. Where would we be without being able to mark our territories and know that something, somewhere lives beyond our stay on earth?
Graffiti is both a pictorial and a verbal form of expression. It lends itself to being dissected, examined and discussed. It shocks the system and it soothes the system. It serves as an outlet at its most primary, basic level.
I read in an old text, that a huge percentage of men go to a public bathroom with a pen in their hands or in their pockets. Is there a need for multiple ways to express oneself in the restroom? I have also seen firsthand that the second you put up a sign that says no graffiti, a flock of artists suddenly appear. When a wall cleaner comes by to paint over the graffiti many fear relief that order has been restored and others feel disappointed that community voices have been erased.
Is there beauty in graffiti? Is there beauty in free, disorderly expression? Absolutely.
In my travels around the world and the United States, I love to snap photographs of local graffiti, public art and murals as a way of capturing the community identity. These are just a handful of said snapshots.