i agree with Marvel’s point. I like grafitti, but it matters to me very much where it is. First of all, I’m not terribly into “tagging.” I much prefer “bombing” or “piecing.” To define, tagging is generally the simple one-color spraypaint/marker-type grafitti that bears the writer’s moniker, while “bombing” and “piecing” are the more elaborate works, employing multiple colors, three-dimentional letter forms, extensive use of shading and other graphic elements (skylines, characters, etc…)
Bombing also sometimes refers to an intensive night of grafitti-ing in a concentrated area.
Anyhow, I do like grafitti that’s centered around industrial areas, visible from mass transportation lines or highways. Roofs of buildings are generally OK by me, since those are usually visible only from the El, and not from the average pedestrian. I do not like grafitti on the fronts of any houses, nor on garages in residential areas. And I certainly do not liked street-gang tagging (like waking up one morning to find “Insane Popes” scrawled on my father’s garage several years ago.) I’m not a fan of tagging within buses - scratches on windows, or Sharpie markered seat backs. To me, those are just plain ugly.
Knowing several grafitti artists who have since moved on, gone to art school and live “respectable” lives as graphic designers, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that many do know what they’re doing. The grafitti artists I know are very into technique, exploring their own letterforms and critiquing other’s style. So some, at least, do put a lot of thought into it, and definitely have a philosophy about it. To me, they are artists by every sense of the word.
But, as I said, I only really appreciate a certain type of grafitti and in certain areas, which, to some, is against the spirit of grafitti art. To each their own. (Please, no nitpicks about “each/their” agreement.)
I live in Budapest now, and it saddens me to see tags on the front of every other historical fin-de-siecle building and the beautiful bridges across the Danube. It’s pointless, ugly and totally lacking in style on top of it. The grafitti in tunnels, tram underpasses and industrial parks I find acceptable. It’s colorful, decently executed (though grafitti art here has a long, long way to go before it matches NY or Chicago…and I doubt it ever will) and does not hurt the beauty of the city.
That’s my take…hope it makes some sense.