Graffiti is a word, phrase, or image painted or drawn somewhere in public, like on the side of a building or on the walls in a restroom. It also involves the spraying, painting or scratching of words or images on buildings, bridges, streets, trains, trams, subways, and even monuments.
In 2013, singer Justin Bieber apparently took this up as his new hobby. Artists around the world believe that it is a form of expression. Like the many murals and paintings around us, it is a form of art — it is as old as human civilization! It is a marking, an initial, slogan, or drawing written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building phew, we are talking about graffiti!
Traditional graffiti includes artwork, stencil graffiti or sticker art. Like all hobbies, this street art has its own language, some of which can be difficult to comprehend. But still it is considered to be a humorous or critical artistic expression.
Historically, street art always existed in the form of graffiti on walls. What usually started by writing and drawing on the public walls of urban spaces to spread social messages has today become a medium to beautify cities. Graffiti has long been a part of human history but it wasn’t until the emergence of the hip-hop culture that it began to gain recognition as an art form around the globe including India.
India is no stranger to graffiti culture. Graffiti has always been a part of Indian social lives. In India there are two types of graffiti — creative and defacing. In the creative type, graffiti is considered an art that is used to bring to life the walls of the city using vibrant colours and joyous concepts.
There’s a new movement taking over the country to brighten up public places. There are many cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Bengaluru, Goa, Coimbatore and Hyderabad where the artists are trying not just to spread social messages but also to beautify them. These cities are hosting events and festivals where both Indian and international artists are coming together to portray their creativity in public places.
The pioneers of this ‘public art renaissance’ are individual street artists, non-profit organizations or art groups. They have been working with government bodies and corporates to giving a bright and beautiful look to their urban spaces.