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Tristan Currie. Resubmission for OUGD401 Context of Practice continued:

Has graffiti become commercialized ?

"Graffiti when I was doing it wasn't in magazines. It wasn't on the Internet. It was on a train...it was free. Now everything costs money. Graf is marketed. I don't know if it's right or wrong. I just know that it's different”. (Rock, A. 1996. p. 38)

The main purpose of graffiti when it started in the late 60s was to communicate, to share an idea, a message, anything that you wanted to express could be done in the form of graffiti. As forms of communication started to develop more throughout the years graffiti has changed with it. In the previous quote, A. Rock talks about how the Internet has changed graffiti, that it’s different now that we have this big form of communication. It’s used in advertising, to promote products and even shown in galleries. The way graffiti is being used to promote and advertise created controversy. While some people viewed it as an effective way of advertising others disagreed. The increase in legal graffiti suggested a rise in illegal graffiti on the streets. Commercialisation of graffiti could be placed in between the street and the galleries, many writers were using this introduce to the public a different side of graffiti, in a way to make it more acceptable in society. Nancy Macdonald (2001) mentions that commercial graffiti: "Moves writers out of the boundaries of the subculture, because artists no longer paint for their peers and themselves, they have a new audience". (p.90)

What she is saying is that the commercialisation of graffiti has made artists and writers step away from the origins of graffiti and start to target a different audience with there work. As A. Rock mentioned, graffiti has changed, it’s different. It has become so available and easy to access that it has lost its initial culture. Banksy is famous for his political and social street art. He is a clear example of how the commercialisation of graffiti is making artists target a different audience. He is using graffiti to communicate messages and ideas, which is what graffiti was all about, but his audience is different. Banksy is not targeting fellow writers with his work, he is communicating to the public.


The image above is one of Banksy’s art works. He is using street art to communicate a message, the message that the nation is under CCTV. How we are controlled and recorded by the government. Banksy is targeting the public and at the same time he is stating is opinions and views about society. This example shows how the Internet and the commercialisation of graffiti has made artists start to create work for other audiences.

In conclusion, modern day graffiti has evolved and is different to its beginning. Methods of communication, target audiences.. everything has changed and developed through the use of the Internet and the way graffiti is being used in the commercial area. Although there have been changes the origin of this movement and culture is still visible, everyone wants to express their thoughts and opinions, which is what graffiti is all about.

Reference: Macdonald, N. (2001). The graffiti subculture: youth, masculinity, and identity in London and New York. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 90-91. Rock, A. (1996). "Contents Under Pressure." Rap Pages, 5.1. pp.38-47


Tristan currie resubmission ougd401 (2)