Graffiti; Can it be Art ? Why or Why Not?


A legal wall grafiti in Canberra, by a man called Def Caps.

Many people think it is OK. Others, not so much. It has been debated for a looooong time. You might not know what I’m talking about, or you might. Either way, my topic is Can Graffiti be Art? Why, or Why Not? 

Firstly, I believe it is totally OK if you have asked to do it or it is for a beautiful purpose, instead of just tag everywhere. For instance, if you are at a skate-park and you do tag ( graffiti words ) just because, then it is totally NOT OK. But on the other hand, if you are doing it for the beautiful side of things and have asked, then it is OK.

After that, even if you do ask permission, it is still not OK if you are trying to do something crude and scary to hurt people’s feelings. For example, if someone gets permission to do graffiti on their building and does something absolutely beautiful and unharmful, it is on the good side of the graffiti. However, if you do a great big drawing with hurtful comments on it, then the graffiti is so not OK ! 

Finally, graffiti is a very misleading thing. It can be beautiful and hurtful, illegal but so gorgeous. For instance, some people might not ask to do the graffiti, but they do it to make a beautiful statement in the streets. On the other hand, some people get permission to do grafiti, but they do a huge, crude drawing. 

I hope you have thought about this and understand what I am trying to say. As for if graffiti can be Art – well, it cannot be Art until people realise that graffiti shouldn’t be bad, but that it should be for a good purpose. 


  1. Rosemaree Tacken · July 15, 2015

    I think you have ‘nailed it’ in so many ways. The purpose and intention is essential as to whether the grafitti is beautiful. While it is preferable to have permission, sometimes there are people in unfortunate circumstances who use their artistic skills where they can as a method of expressing their thoughts and feelings. I can ignore/live with that type of grafitti but like you, i don’t appreciate the crude grafitti or when it defaces something of significance to others.

    Another excellent blog Indrani. Love you my beautiful niece. Xxx

  2. Tobias Louch · July 15, 2015

    Permission is key. You don’t want to break the law or create images that offend people. Having said this, art commissioned by a committee or group can be a bit watered down. A bit safe. So in my opinion there needs to be balance. You want images that actually say something yet you don’t want to alienate people. Nor do you want to make public spaces in to hostile environments.

  3. Dylan Robson · July 15, 2015

    Great entry Indrani.

    Check out the work of artist, Banksy (real name unknown).

    He makes graffiti artworks which really engage with the local environment.

    • Indrani Smith · July 15, 2015

      Thank you ! I definitely will check out that website !

    • Indrani Smith · July 15, 2015

      I do have to say Banksy is quite an amazing artist, although I do have to say people kind of don’t appreciate his work.