Jun 20

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Graffiti or street art?


Why you should love it, not loath it. Ramzey Bawa tells us what excites and drives street artists

Alexandra Palace skate park allows street artists free expression

Alexandra Palace skate park allows street artists free expression

Love it? 

Those who like sgraffiti – street art – see it as the work of people expressing their artistic side, similar to freedom of speech.

The ‘graffers’ seek to get good ‘ratings’ and find the location best suited for their artwork, in view of the general public.

Fans argue sgraffiti goes back to Egyptian times. They say in America, over 20 to 30 years, an established group has become respected for the graphical work produced on different mediums and in different textures.


And in London Banksy has become a well-known street artist, his work recognised by people across the country and abroad.

Banksy’s picture Slave Labour, stolen from the wall of Poundland in Wood Green early this year, was valued in an auction in America at £460,000. The local community successfully pressured Haringey Council to demand it be brought back from the auction house.

 Loath it?

Others see graffiti as vandalism. They blame graffers for damage to buildings, park areas, public transport and local street areas. The tags of gangs are considered a particular nuisance.

But producing their art in an illegal place, the risk of getting caught and facing criminal charges, is the adrenaline that drives many street artists. They love the possible danger to themselves of working over a railway track, for example.

spray can 2

For some, staying anonymous and possibly being illegal is part of the thrill

Even Banksy, whose work is now so famous, has kept his own identity secret. This ‘hidden style’ shows true graffiti artist mentality – it’s important for creativity to be acknowledged, but they like to take risks and stay anonymous.

Where do you stand on Sgraffity? 


Words: Ramzey is a North London resident and worked with us on a project undertaken at the Hornsey YMCA this spring

Pictures: Elliot Brown took the (legal!) skate park pictures featuring keen young street artist Alfie Cartwright, while on work experience with us in 2012

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Permanent link to this article: http://dandelionproject.org/pub/graffiti-or-street-art/

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