Graffiti: Illicit or Art?


Alden Spitzer, Reporter

Art exists as an enigma, and has existed as such since the first beings were able to struggle with the concept of creation and self expression. Particularly, the human race is concerned with the issue of defining art. It is in this sense that Durango High School students are at least one of the ways one can come to a greater understanding of self expression, and by extension, how the human race creates art.

When asked to define art, Sophomore Brett Nelson said, “It is an expression of an emotion.”

This seemed to be a common sentiment among those interviewed. Sophomore Ian Osby expanded on this with a broader definition.

“It is a way for someone to express themselves,” said Osby.

Sophomore Sarah reinforced this idea, she said, “It’s an expression of creativity and personal view on life”.

Mr. Nelson seems to concede graffiti is art when he said, “I would define graffiti as an unintellectual way of spreading bottled up emotions,”

However, what degree of importance or value graffiti has is still unclear.

“You can still let out emotion in graffiti” said Nelson.

At first, Osby had a bit of a tougher stance on graffiti, but agreed it could be art.

“I think graffiti can be good, […] but a lot of people think of it as vandalism,” said Osby.

However, Ian Osby was altogether not against graffiti.

“There are many occasions when it is very good and has a lot of meaning, and is good for the community,” said Osby.

“There is more hardship [in urban communities], and during the hardship people find those ways to express themselves and relieve stress”, said Sarah.

Perhaps the most poignant interview came from Edd Cash, a Sophomore World History teacher.

“I would define graffiti as a form of art that sometimes crosses boundaries, in many ways, that make people feel uncomfortable.” said Cash.

The key to creating art seems to be in self expression. All the people interviewed agreed expression was an integral part of the artistic process. And as far as whether graffiti counts as art, Cash seemed to sum it up.

“Art, yes. Always legal, no,” he said.