When my sister was little, she had a nightmare in which someone “grafittied her face”. She was terrorised by those strange letters and drawings that seemed so violent and threatening. And she was not the only one to think this way; in fact, it is kind of the point. For quite a lot of people, graffiti can be scary, a symbol of disrupted order: vandalism, as if declaring war to authority. However, for many others, it means safety: a territorial mark that says they are home. For them, it is also a way of expressing dissatisfaction and protesting. Graffiti is a way of communicating.
In the past 30 years, a new form of art has developed very much influenced by graffiti: street art. Purifying itself from territorial purposes and gang wars, this type of art seeks to express interesting messages, sometimes about political or social protest and others just to produce beauty.
Art is removed from its typical context of a museum where it is meant to be admired and celebrated as main character. Instead, street art is located in the middle of a busy environment where it is unexpected and often overlooked, and where its lifespan may be short. You might find a wonderful mural on a parking lot wall that is uncomfortable to look at with all the cars passing by and noise from the street, and tomorrow it might no longer be there. And precisely, that is the best part of it: it removes yourself from your busy life even if it is only for one second.
Street art is all about creating art that is democratic and belongs to everyone, stepping very far away from elitist pieces that are sold for millions in fancy galleries. It provides the city an opportunity to admire something meaningful in the middle of their everyday life.
Art is everywhere. You just have to look.
I encourage everyone to find out more about what type of art is being produced around them. Currently, there are many tours and information focusing on street art in many cities.
Mexico City: http://www.streetartchilango.com/
Los Angeles: http://grafftours.com/
San Francisco: http://1amsf.com/classes/art-of-graffiti-1-0/