Graffiti is an art form of expression crafted within public spaces. It’s distinct from street or graffiti art because it typically arises without permission and involves single persons and groups’ unapproved marking of personal or communal areas. But this art form can show how artwork can transform a space, especially areas that have been neglected.
Since its inception, “Graffiti” has referred to words or symbols inscribed on walls of ancient sepulchers, public buildings, and ruins. You can find this evidence in sites such as Rome’s Catacombs or Pompeii’s remains. However, over time the expression “graffiti” has progressed to refer to texts and visuals applied onto surfaces – although for an extended period, it was connected with acts of vandalism.
Why Graffiti is Art: The Value and Impact of Street Art
Graffiti has been around for centuries, with some of the earliest examples being cave paintings and inscriptions on ancient monuments in Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The word ‘graffiti’ originates from the Italian word graffito, meaning “scratched.”
Though graffiti continues to evolve as an art form today, it is still considered a criminal offense under US law. By transforming walls into canvases, these artists continue a longstanding tradition of creative expression while pushing boundaries that challenge societal norms. Some businesses may even resort to graffiti art to improve business branding.
But whether graffiti could be considered art or vandalism is intricate and multifaceted, dependent on many elements like the whereabouts of a specific piece and its quality/message.
Unsurprisingly, it’s challenging to come to an absolute conclusion. At the same time, some people may not tolerate their property being painted without permission. Others might recognize graffiti as an artist’s right to self-expression, allowing them to reach beyond those in the artistic world. Ultimately, there are no simple answers concerning this debate.
What is Graffiti Art: Elements and Techniques
Graffiti art is a form of street art that uses walls, buildings, and other surfaces as canvases. It typically involves drawings, calligraphy, typography, and textured designs applied to the concrete or brick canvas. The key elements of this art form are color, contrast, scale, and texture.
Though often confused with one another, graffiti and street art are distinct forms of public artwork. Graffiti focuses more on words and letters to communicate a message, while street art draws from images to convey meaning.
Artists have used both as powerful political and social commentary platforms that can be viewed freely throughout the streetscape. The differences between the two mediums may appear slight at first glance but become apparent when closely examined side-by-side.
How to Do Graffiti Art: Step-by-Step Guide
As graffiti has gained a bigger audience, more individuals have been eager to learn how to draw it. Whether for personal projects or even just decorating something like notebooks, this unique style has plenty of possibilities! This step-by-step guide will expose you to the fundamentals of crafting your awe-inspiring graffiti art.
Tracing the Graffiti Tag
If you used a marker before, the graffiti tag is likely still visible through the paper. To start with your tracing task, use a pencil to trace around and define the edges of each line; make sure to leave some extra space between your new line and the edge of the marker so that it enlarges in size slightly.
Improving the Graffiti
You should pay attention to the overall structure of the graffiti. To create a more compact form, you can make some letters bigger than their counterpart, “R,” at the end. In addition, two arrows were added on both sides for further effect, and serifs with blue circles became even more intricate for an eye-catching look.
Using a Fineliner to Redraw the Lines
Now that the hard part is done, you can take your markers and trace over your pencil lines for more definition. Allow a few moments for the color to dry completely before wiping away all the remaining pencil marks- voila! You’ll have achieved an impressive-looking result like this one in no time.
Coloring the Graffiti Sketch
If you want to make your drawing more intricate, use gradients. Coloring the graffiti with a large gradient can give it a simple yet effective look. Implementing different gradients for each letter is key to refining further and adding complexity to your art!
Create the 3D Blocks
To create 3D graffiti blocks, you must first pick out a vanishing point. This is the spot beneath your artwork where all the 3D shapes lead. After deciding on the focal point, determine how large each block should be. With that setup, you can start building your fantastic three-dimensional masterpiece!
Adding a Keyline and Background
You can create a keyline that complements the artwork by outlining the graffiti. You can also add a background hue to add depth to the graffiti and further emphasize its beauty.
Adding Highlights and Tags
Create a more intricate graffiti look by incorporating shapes and highlights above the filled-in areas.
Graffiti Art as a Lifestyle: Culture and Community
Graffiti has become a lifestyle that centers around the art and culture of creating graffiti. It’s often a signifier of belonging to a creative and rebellious artistic subculture. This type of lifestyle incorporates many aspects, including rap music, streetwear fashion, skateboarding, and more.
Graffiti is a form of expression for individuals who want to push boundaries, make a statement, or have an outlet for creativity. It’s also a way to build community by bringing together individuals from different backgrounds with similar interests and values.
Graffiti art is undoubtedly one of the most expressive forms of modern-day street art. By understanding its history, techniques, and key elements, you can create stunning pieces of art and make a meaningful statement with your work. From the varied elements that comprise it to the lifestyle and culture it fosters, graffiti art has become a powerful tool for artistic expression — one that can potentially lead to social change.