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Subcultures are great. Some of the most interesting stuff just happens to come from places that most people didn’t know about or didn’t initially understand. Tattoo of course, falls into the category of subculture, although in the past few years it has certainly moved away from that concept. Still, there are numerous aspects of the tattoo culture that continues to rightly deserve its place as a subculture.
Graffiti carries with it a lengthy legacy of street artists existing within their own culture, a culture that has also seen more than its share of artists like Mister Cartoon or Banksy hitting the spotlight. There are literally thousands of tattooists who initially began as grafitti artists, and for this reason graffiti and tattoo are forever linked. But beyond similarities in artistic style, graffiti also exists as something that tattoo is familiar with: an art form practiced by social outcasts whose work is all too often not appreciated or taken seriously.
Recently the West Side Youth Violence Prevention Coalition in Buffalo, New York held an anti-graffiti workshop for police and community leaders. Though this article talks about the artistic merit of the graffiti on display, in general there seems to be a desire to push the artists toward something better. What that something might be however, is not made clear.
‘Diana Martin, a block club leader, said she was surprised at the “quality” of the graffiti shared with the audience.
“If you could channel that talent into more creative efforts, it could be very valuable,” the Greenwood Place resident said. “They’re searching for some kind of recognition.”’
I personally believe that graffiti artists are searching for some kind of recognition, but that not treating graffiti art as a crime is the solution. When all is said and done, graffiti is art and no art form should be banished or made illegal. Think of the problems that neighbourhoods in any city in the world have faced in terms of development, gentrification, overpriced housing, violence, etc, and you’ll quickly see that a little art spray painted here and there is hardly a major concern.