In Defense Of Graffiti By Alex Boyd

712 Words3 Pages
Graffiti, to the general public is no better than vandalism and it is equivalent in most people’s eyes to breaking the law. In his essay “In Defense of Graffiti”, the author, Alex Boyd defends graffiti from those that say it is simply vandalism and tries to persuade readers that it can be more than that, that it can also be a form of self-expression. Boyd divides graffiti into two major categories: one containing works that are “rambling, obscure, and sometimes offensive” which are typically what people tend to think of when they hear the term graffiti; and another category that has “more tangible, more political and accessible” works (256). But while Boyd makes a compelling argument defending graffiti as a form of self-expression he skims…show more content…
While Boyd mentions this very briefly in his essay he does not spend too much time on it, however graffiti removal is one of the biggest issues surrounding graffiti and the main reason it is considered vandalism. For example a few months ago, in July 2015, the City of New Westminster unveiled a newly painted rainbow crosswalk and later that day white paint was dumped on it, but “crews were able to wash away the paint and there [was] no permanent damage” (The Canadian Press). In this scenario the cost was the money spent on cleaning up the paint, and the time spent finding somebody to do it and actually getting it done. According to a study done by Blake Byron Walker and Nadine Schuurman graffiti in Vancouver costs “an estimated $2 million to $3 million to business owners and up to $1.5 million to the city annually” and that is only the graffiti that actually gets removed, there is a lot of graffiti that stays up (609). This is due to the fact that sometimes business owners cannot spare the time or money required to paint over the vandalism to their property. While many business can afford to remove graffiti and choose to sometimes there are large time intervals between when the graffiti goes up and when it is finally removed, and during these intervals particularly offensive…show more content…
In the rainbow crosswalk scenario it was meant to “[celebrate] the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community” however the man suspected of dumping the paint was probably not participating in the type of self-expression Boyd was referring to (The Canadian Press). In fact his actions have led to many people in the community calling him a bigot as they have interpreted his actions as directed specifically towards the LGBTQ community. While some people may not be bothered by the crosswalk example since it affects a minority of the community there is also the case of racist graffiti on school walls. In March of 2011 “graffiti, which read ‘white power’ and ‘no chinks and Jews’, [and included] the Nazi swastika” was found on a school wall in Richmond (Luba). Evidently this concerned a lot of parents of the students attending the school, as well as those in the community who found themselves targets of the message. Messages such as these can send a powerful message to those on the receiving end that they aren’t welcome in the community. When one sees something that opposes their existence, especially in the way that it was done at this school, it can cause that individual to feel attacked and as though his or her life is at risk just by being in the

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