Graffiti can be defined as “unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface” and has been in existence in some form or another since before the days of the Roman Empire.
The word “unauthorized” can imply that the result is somehow unappealing or offensive, which in many instances and to many people, it is. But what if the unauthorized drawing is a work of art worthy of being framed or placed on exhibition?
Several artists use graffiti as a means to express themselves, and whether authorized or not, it can be hard to dispute the graffiti’s value as art. One artist in particular, an anonymous Briton going by the pseudonym Banksy, has been using the medium since the mid 1990’s as a forum for social commentary. The themes of his art are generally anti-war and anti-establishment in nature and in some cases, have become so popular that the property owner has allowed the art to remain.
The question is this: where does the line between a nuisance and art get drawn and who draws it? Should a property owner remove graffiti regardless of artistic value or public acceptance of the art? Is one person’s eyesore another’s Mona Lisa?
The answer truly lay in the eyes of the beholder.