Graffiti (singular: graffito; the plural is used as a mass noun) is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
In modern times, paint, particularly spray paint, and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner's consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime. Graffiti may also express underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles. Within hip hop culture, graffiti has evolved alongside hip hop music, b-boying, and other elements. Unrelated to hip-hop graffiti, gangs use their own form of graffiti to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities.
Controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials/law enforcement and writers who wish to display and appreciate work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing art form whose value is highly contested, reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.
Documentaries and filmsEdit
- 80 Blocks from Tiffany's (1979) – A rare glimpse into late '70s New York towards the end of the infamous South Bronx gangs. The documentary shows many sides of the mainly Puerto Rican community of the South Bronx, including reformed gang members, current gang members, the police, and the community leaders who try to reach out to them.
- Stations of the Elevated (1980), the earliest documentary about subway graffiti in New York City, with music by Charles Mingus
- Wild Style (1983), a drama about hip hop and graffiti culture in New York City
- Style Wars (1983), an early documentary on hip hop culture, made in New York City
- Quality of Life (2004) a graffiti drama shot in the Mission District of San * Francisco, starring and co-written by a retired graffiti writer.
- Piece by Piece (2005), a feature-length documentary on the history of San Francisco graffiti from the early 1980s until the present day.
- Infamy (2005), a feature-length documentary about graffiti culture as told through the experiences of six well-known graffiti writers and a graffiti buffer.
- NEXT: A Primer on Urban Painting (2005), a documentary about global graffiti culture
- RASH (2005), a feature documentary about Melbourne, Australia and the artists who make it a living host for illegal artwork called street art.
- Bomb the System (2002), a drama about a crew of graffiti artists in modern day New York City
- BOMB IT (2007), a graffiti and street art documentary filmed on five continents.
- Jisoe (2007), a glimpse into the life of a Melbourne, Australia graffiti writer. Shows the audience an example of graffiti in struggling Melbourne areas
- Roadsworth: Crossing the Line (2009) is a Canadian documentary about Montréal artist Peter Gibson and his controversial stencil art on public roads.
- "Exit Through The Gift Shop" (2010) is a documentary produced by the notorious artist Banksy tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, and his obsession with street art. Shepard Fairey and Invader (artist), who Guetta discovers is his cousin, are also in the film.
- "Graffiti Wars" (2011), documentary detailing King Robbo's feud with Banksy aswell as the authorities' differing attitude towards graffiti and street art.
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