I watched a 7 minute video on snagfilms.com called The Writing on the Wall. The synopsis is a lot more profound than the film.
"The city walls speak the truth of its citizens, an old saying says. Since ancient times, one could read the pulse of a people by their markings on the wall. The scars, markings and tattoos on the cement skin of the city communicate the experiences of a nation in transition. Athens is the capital of Europe with the largest amount of graffiti. The abandonment of the city's center and its subsequent degradation has brought graffiti back into the spotlight as one of the main factors that contribute to decreasing life quality in the center. A long and old debate about the role of graffiti in the city is brought to the forefront: is it art or pollution?"
I enjoyed seeing the different styles of graffiti-art. However the editing was so quick-cut that the eye could not appreciate each one for more than a few seconds. But it is certainly an interesting discussion, is it art or is it vandalism? The people in the short film whose art was shown were definitely talented. They make art.
However to put it on buildings they don't own, and for the reason stated, "people have to see it whether they like it or not" makes it vandalism. But as the guy said, an entry point into the art world? Well, with the internet came self-publishing, and entree into the insular world of publishing houses and authors. And MySpace allowed for musicians to enter into the sometimes corrupt and always difficult record label world. I just wish taggers don't do what they do illegally.
I was reminded of this photo I took about ten years ago. Graffiti had started appearing in the center of our town. The wide and tall brick walls outside of our school were too attractive to a graffiti-artist/vandal. The school got tagged. A school child walking by saw it and stopped to look. I wonder what she was thinking...