The Instigator
Mover25
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Stonewall
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Graffiti Art

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Stonewall
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,178 times Debate No: 42792
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

Mover25

Pro

Graffiti art has been a part of urban culture dating back to the late 1960s. It is an art form that has spread through the world and gained a lot of popularity; it can be seen on clothing, backpacks, modern art galleries, and yes walls and other public places. It is illegal in most cases, and graffiti at the core typically has political messages or just expresses the artist feelings and creativity by using the alphabet, shapes, and characters in some cases. The whole purpose behind graffiti is to get your name "up" and be noticed by many, to gain fame by going against what society tells you to do, and to in a way give a metaphorical middle finger to the higher government powers at being.
Stonewall

Con

Thank you for the opportunity to debate this topic. Although it was never explicitly stated, I assume that the main point of this argument is to deem whether or not graffiti should be allowed. I will be arguing against this.

Graffiti is, by definition, "writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place." (1) Illicitly, of course, means illegally. This is exactly why it should not be allowed: It is vandalism, pure and simple. It is the same as keying somebody's car or carving curse words into the desk in middle school, except graffiti is almost always done on a much grander, larger scale. I hate to use such a cliché, but how would you feel if someone did it to you? How awful would it be to wake up and see vulgarities or gang signs on the side of your house for the sake of "sticking it to the man?" In some cases, this would be enough to get shot by the wrong people. To allow this anywhere would be absolutely ludicrous.

On that note, I will admit that graffiti is sometimes pleasant to look at. I'd never say that graffiti can't be admirable simply in an artistic aspect. Although graffiti, by definition, is illegal, it is of course not illegal to do it on your own property. This is where street art should stay: On your own stuff, on your own house, with somebody's permission, etc. But to mark up somebody's house or the overpass is unnecessary. There are plenty of other ways to go against society and get stuff done. Graffiti should not be allowed simply based on common courtesy.

1.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Mover25

Pro

As said in the above argument graffiti is illegal, punishable by law, and looked down upon in society if you are caught commuting such acts. However through the course of history we can see that just because something is against the law does not mean the act is unjust or bad. In Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail he says "To put in terms of St. Thomas Aquanis: An unjust law is a human law not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."

So a law that is preventing artists with a message, a story, a legacy to tell by putting up their art in what better a place than a wall where hundreds walk by; admire the art for what it is and appreciate it. Not being cooped inside a small area such as a private property or inside a barely visited art gallery, graffiti art needs to be free to all and to be seen by all. By making it illegal are the higher powers degrading human personality or not?

The mention of the art on homes and private residence does upset me. As an artist I hold myself to a moral code, and that means not writing on private homes, cars that people use, or schools and churches. People who do this are not to be taken seriously as artist, and are looked down upon in the graffiti community.

To your acknowledgement that you do like some street art ,that is great. However how much graffiti would you have seen in your life if it had not been put up illicitly? Not much I am going to guess. Without the artist back in the 70s and 80s putting up their names and pieces as much as they could over and over illegally, graffiti would have never gained popularity, and probably would be a dead medium. Those who draw penises and profanity on walls and mirrors and other things are childish, street art should be what it says, art, not childish marking scribbled on a desk. There is a difference between vandalism and art, and I hope that you can understand that.
Stonewall

Con

However through the course of history we can see that just because something is against the law does not mean the act is unjust or bad. In Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail he says "To put in terms of St. Thomas Aquanis [sic] : An unjust law is a human law not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."

What an atrocious example. Dr. King was an advocate for equal rights for all races. He was breaking down barriers in our society-- trying to get blacks and whites in equal schools and desegregating bathrooms, careers, and drinking fountains. He wasn't fighting for the right to trash bridges and houses for art's sake. Graffiti doesn't "uplift human personality." Trying to compare civil rights to street art is horrid.

"So a law that is preventing artists with a message, a story, a legacy to tell by putting up their art in what better a place than a wall where hundreds walk by; admire the art for what it is and appreciate it."

You say that as if the law has kept anyone with a story or art from sharing it. Did you know that for thousands and thousands of years, we have been sharing our stories and art in legal areas? In books? On canvas? Commissioned in churches and other places of worship? All in places where they were acceptable and unintrusive. Graffiti is a relatively new art form (note: Not a new activity, a new art form), but an illicit one. Painting on the sides of buildings that are private property has always been seen as a disagreeable activity.

"Not being cooped inside a small area such as a private property or inside a barely visited art gallery, graffiti art needs to be free to all and to be seen by all."

Yeah, because everyone wants to see the word "PENIS" written on every bathroom stall for the sake of art. ("Well, I don't support vulgarities on public property.") Who and what is to decide what is appropriate for graffiti, and where? We can't justify some and condemn others. The only thing we can do is make it legal to display your art on your private property and show it in museums.

"By making it illegal are the higher powers degrading human personality or not?"

Are you asking me? No, higher powers aren't infringing on our first amendment rights and degrading our human personality by making graffiti illegal. What about the rights and human personality whose property has been defaced with some spray-painted eyesore? Graffiti can negatively affect the person whose property is harmed. People who don't want to see it are affected. Is this all for the sake of saving one person's artistic vision?

"The mention of the art on homes and private residence does upset me. As an artist I hold myself to a moral code, and that means not writing on private homes, cars that people use, or schools and churches. People who do this are not to be taken seriously as artist, and are looked down upon in the graffiti community."

Everything you just said offends you as an artist and that it looked down upon in the graffiti is exactly what graffiti is by definition. That's ridiculous. What makes graffiti better? That it's on a building or a bridge that belongs to the state and not a private residence? What's the difference? It's defacing something that isn't yours. It's criminal activity regardless of where it's at, and you have yet to explain what exactly the difference is or why it's forgivable in one area and not another.

"To your acknowledgement that you do like some street art ,that is great. However how much graffiti would you have seen in your life if it had not been put up illicitly?"

Fair enough. But how many curse words and offensive jokes would I have not seen in my life had it not been put up illicitly? I don't want my kids or even my parents to see the stupid vulgarities in the bathroom stall, on the sides of trains, and displayed on the sides of buildings. If we make graffiti legal, we are not simply giving every person with a story to tell a canvas, we are justifying every stupid middle schooler who thinks swastikas are funny. If we keep it like it is now, legal in private areas, we are letting everyone who wants to see the art see it. Legalizing it all over just makes people all over, even those who don't want to see crudely drawn penises on buildings, subjected to it. That undeniably degrades everyone's human personality.

"Those who draw penises and profanity on walls and mirrors and other things are childish, street art should be what it says, art, not childish marking scribbled on a desk."

But what gives you the authority to declare what is and isn't art? I don't think Andy Warhol's vibrant paintings of soup cans is quote-unquote art. I think it's ridiculous, pretentious tripe, in fact. But the world tends to disagree with me, and on it goes being proclaimed as true art. I'm sure others feel the same way about Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Van Gogh. What makes anyone's opinions on what's art valid? I'm sure there are some who feel that penises and swear words on desks are art, too. Nobody has the authority to say it isn't.

"There is a difference between vandalism and art, and I hope that you can understand that."

Care to define where exactly that differing line is? And how you judge that? And how anyone can judge that? And what makes an artful penis on the side of a building better than the crudely drawn one right next to it? There are millions upon millions of opinions on the topic, and no one can declare which is more valid than the other.
Debate Round No. 2
Mover25

Pro

You have made a lot of great points and I don't have a great rebuttal, however I still stand firm in my beliefs that true graffiti art is not a wrong against the world. You would have to be a street artist to understand it, and for now I forfeit.
Stonewall

Con

Well, if you ever decide you wish to take this debate back up again with a better grasp of your stance (I understand what you mean-- you know the difference, just not how to articulate it), I'd be more than happy to take it up. Until then, voters, vote for whoever made the better argument.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Mover25 3 years ago
Mover25
Stonewall got it right. And I do apologize for not stating a true topic for debate.
Posted by Stonewall 3 years ago
Stonewall
I stated in my opening argument that I assumed the debate was whether or not graffiti should be illegal. Pro did not contest this statement, thus it is more than safe to say this debate is about graffiti's legality as opposed to its artistic merits.
Posted by urapai 3 years ago
urapai
Con, you did not explain how graffiti is not art, you simply explained how it is illegal and unnecessary.
Posted by MosDEF 3 years ago
MosDEF
I will support this argument, along with your last opponent Darrem
Posted by DarrenL1 3 years ago
DarrenL1
I could've sworn I just participated in something quite similar to this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bored 3 years ago
bored
Mover25StonewallTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did a superb job of arguing and would have convinced me if there had perhaps been more of a discussion on what counts as art. But the arguments were pointed as well as funny.