The History and Migration of Graffiti from Urban Space to Public Galleries
Ferguson, Aaron K.
MetadataShow full item record
Modern day graffiti, which appeared on city walls in the late 60's, came with mixed perceptions of whether graffiti was an art or simply public vandalism. In Buffalo, the main perception of graffiti remains a criminal act, where "gang members" find pleasure in destroying city property. However, graffiti's movement to public art galleries shows its acceptance as an art form among many. This thesis project covers the topic of graffiti from its rise to fame in the 1970's to its transition into art galleries worldwide. It details the history of graffiti, its movement beyond trains and abandoned walls, and how this transition relates to the city of Buffalo, N.Y. Currently, the city of Buffalo is filled with graffiti on abandoned houses, walls, street signs, storefronts, and mailboxes. However, the fact remains that not all this graffiti is gang related or done with the intent to vandalize. Thus, the visual piece of this project focuses on graffiti in the city, how the public perceives this graffiti by examining the genre as both an art and crime, and why graff writers do what they do. Furthermore, this project attempts to showcase the graffiti genre as a recognized art form—born in the inner city as a way for kids to express both ideas and feelings. Centralizing the graffiti scene around Buffalo exposes a fresh side of a culture told countless times in television, books, magazines and film. Finally, as a retrospective piece, this project seeks to tell the story behind the beauty of an emerging subculture worth being told to supporters and opponents alike.