The days when graffiti was regarded purely as a scourge have long gone. There are still instances of graffiti defacing important buildings and monuments; that is an indictment on parts of the society that exists today. Elsewhere graffiti has become a recognised and valuable form of art. In the news recently an art expert estimated it would cost £26,000 to restore a piece of ‘Banksy’ art on a Cheltenham house. That is restoration so what is the estimated value of the piece itself?
Graffiti isn’t new; it has existed since the times of the Ancient Empires, the Egyptians, the Romans and the Greeks. In the modern day, spray paints and good marker pens have helped budding artists develop their talents and many such as ‘Banksy’ have earned international recognition and reputation.
Often the motive behind these artists is political and what better way is there to get their message across than visually? Social comment is one thing; there is still the issue of permission to paint. Many local authorities try to balance their responsibilities to the community with their willingness to accept the rights of the individual.
Open air ‘museums’ exist these days where people can go to see artists’ work. There are subway stations in New York filled with graffiti art and people actually travel to them as a destination to admire the work. The days when graffiti was marginalised as part of the punk era have gone; current graffiti is commercial and mainstream.
A decade or so ago IBM actually launched a marketing campaign in the USA by having people spray painting in the streets. They faced a few legal problems as a result; Sony took note of them when doing a similar thing a few years later.
Graffiti is a worldwide phenomenon though many artists prefer to remain anonymous while getting their social or political messages out to society. Banksy is an example. His work is seen in many places but he is not a well known face around the celebrity circuit. His work is highly prized yet others regard it as vandalism and do all they can to remove it. Islington and Bristol where he has done a considerable amount of work fiercely protect it; not so some other places where his political messages have been less popular.
If you want to become a graffiti artist you must be certain that you are not breaking the law by painting in places that will have the authorities pursuing you. All the materials you would need are available from companies like http://www.jacksonsart.com and they are all fairly portable.
It can simply be fun to use aerosol sprays to create images. If you want to try it begin on a small scale. If you have a message to get out then you may take a while to build up a reputation like ‘Banksy.’