Is Graffiti in Nature ‘Street’ Art?

A confession: I have never liked graffiti but I can still appreciate the rawness of Basquiat in a gallery setting. Generally I find graffiti scarring and narcissistic in urban environments and without much artistic merit in any setting. I understand that opportunities for artists are limited and so lead to ‘street’ art in urban environments but why should any artist feel enough arrogant and entitled enough to impose their ‘vision’ unto the public sphere without public consensus? And that is assuming a ‘vision’ when most graffiti is just ‘tagging’ of stylized names and monikers. Really, the only graffiti I find affinity for is when it expresses political counterculture – because I believe it’s not an artistic statement but a symbol of social repression and frustration by the masses. I am also an avid hiker and nature enthusiast so you might imagine how I feel about graffiti artists taking their personal expression into wild nature and national parks. Anger and outrage, that’s what I feel. Here is the article that prompted this rant: http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-graffiti-20150427-story.html#page=1 – but it’s not a new issue. Every few months there is an article about graffiti intruding into national parks or monuments to mar the experience for visitors. Why does anyone feel obliged to add artistic scribbles into nature and how can that possibly qualify as ‘street’ art? I can only feel it is an entitled and frustrated artist who needs to deface cacti, rock formations etc and then post their ‘droppings’ into social media, and apparently social media has also aided this practice recently by easily disseminating the artist’s scribbles in nature. In the name of real art, I hope all the nature graffiti artists are fined enough for them to feel it in their pocketbooks. I like my hikes graffiti-free, thank you – leave art for exhibition walls and galleries with few exceptions.

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