Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Graffiti: Art or not?

Street art in Paris, by Penne Cole

Strolling along a boulevard in Paris, I pause and do a double take, my attention captivated by the girl. Her hair is in psychedelic colours, making her seem vibrant and alive and full of attitude. But her eyes are pensive as she stares off into the distance.

Street art in Paris, by Penne Cole

Street art in Paris, by Penne Cole

Her sister doesn’t hide her melancholy as well. One corner of her mouth twists up slightly, giving her a hardened, cynical air. She meets my gaze straight on, challenging me. What are you looking at?

The sisters are easily some of the most arresting pieces of street art I have come across. Finding pieces like these is like stumbling across hidden treasure. And yet, at what point do you draw the line between street art and graffiti? Why are some labelled “street artists” while others are deemed vandals?

There is no question that what 14 year-old Chinese tourist, Ding Jinhao, did to Egypt’s Temple of Luxor is wrong, and even downright disgraceful. But when it comes to pieces of art like these, would you destroy them if they were painted on your walls without your permission? Can they even be considered art?

Street art in Lausanne, by Penne Cole

This piece that spanned the entire side of one building in Lausanne, Switzerland, may even have been commissioned by the city council. But what about the piece below? Art or not?

Street art in Lisbon, by Penne Cole

Street art in Lisbon, by Penne Cole

Don’t get me wrong – I have no patience for the random scribbles that appear overnight, sprayed on freshly-painted walls and on the sides of trains; carved into the back of my seat on the bus and into the wooden benches on the street. But at what point does simple graffiti turn into street art?

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One comment on “Graffiti: Art or not?

  1. clumsyfool
    June 5, 2013

    Amazing pictures! Whatever other people say, the peieces shown abouve are definitely art to me!

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2013 by in Europe, France, Photography, Portugal, Switzerland and tagged , , , , .
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