Saturday 13 March 2010


What are your immediate thoughts on seeing this picture? Well, for me its not a very pleasant sight to behold. Graffiti is something which has been in our culture since long. But the graffiti that held its place in history made  political or revolutionary statements that made the general public to think and act (certain times). But as time passed by, graffiti has been reduced to scribbling one's names or just scrawling a heart with two names written.

This kind of crude writing of names just to pass away precious time is quite annoying. We can find this kind of scribbling everywhere - museums, railway stations and in some cases even in buildings which are are given the heritage status by the government.

What is the psychology behind this kind of behaviour. This is seen mainly observed in school and college students who tend to carve their names in trees, walls, rocks, banners and many other places which seem a nice place to etch their names. Solidarity in having a gang, lover and impressive mobile numbers make the students to scribble their names in walls which are clean and just painted. Why? The urge to possess and own a particular place in the wall gives them a rush of adrenaline and excitement. Every year the government spends big money to preserve many of its historical monuments from vandalism without any effect from the public who love to deface clean walls and rocks.

The word 'quiz' which was also born from graffiti is one example which stands apart. I know that many people who scribble on walls do not know about the word 'quiz' or any revolutions that were born out of graffiti. All that they know is that they have time and means to etch their names for posterity (or so they think) much to the annoyance of people who love to see clean walls.

"I think graffiti writing is a way of defining what our generation is like. Excuse the French, we're not a bunch of p---- artists. Traditionally artists have been considered soft and mellow people, a little bit kooky. Maybe we're a little bit more like pirates that way. We defend our territory, whatever space we steal to paint on, we defend it fiercely."
—Sandra "Lady Pink" Fabara (Source: Wikipedia)
So what is your take on Graffiti dear reader?


  1. Maybe the insatiable urge to let it be known
    that we are the ruler without the throne
    or that we are the lord of all we survey as our own
    are the seeds that our cavemen ancestors have sown.

    Back from a long hiatus. :)

  2. A real long hiatus Govind. Where did you disappear?

    How nicely you dabble in verse your comment. Impressed Govind.

    Hope you are well.

    Joy always :)

  3. I remember that.... when ?I was in school.... perhaps in my eighth or nineth grade... the girls used to write their love stories, their agonies and even curses and sometimes just for the heck of it... behind the toilet doors..... and there would also be comments from others written right below...... I would always be interested in reading them.... and as a result would be late for my class....:))
    But,destroying public property without a question, is unpardonable....

    P.S: The impression of your name on my old dressing table mirror.... is still there.... and everytime I see it... It reminds me of the day you wrote it....:)))

  4. I think the problem with graffiti is that it is an aggressive form of art, if you will. It is forced upon us and feels at times destructive and comes across as vandalism. Mostly if it suppose to be as such, disgracing houses and train cars.
    However, if it is carried out in a controlled way, in places designated for such art, I find it very intriguing. It is a form of a rebellious expression and if seen as such, it can convey interesting messages and makes us think.;)

    Have a lovely weekend dear Susan,

  5. Oh boy, it repulses me to see behaviors expressed inadequtely. I literally scowl and squint sharply, looking like somone with evil thoughts on mind!

    In Egypt such acts of disfiguration are prevalent, making it less likely to indulge your eyes with locations spared the rebellious mental expressions. Every misfortune found induces me more aggressively to hold onto my dreams and aspirations for a healthier world.

  6. Graffiti is that powerful form of art which can attract people's attention easily. And that's why people take it for granted. As soon as I saw the pic that you have posted it immediately reminded me of the scribblings in PTC buses, my college exam halls (yes, they were all over the writing desks on each and every table),restrooms, our very own electric trains, benches in public parks, even in some temple walls and where not. This is widely used to vent out one's feelings. They do annoy us but there are some graffiti, like say those on the Berlin walls, which makes you admire the artists' work.

    Happy Sunday Susan.


  7. Seema:

    You pierced the self-righteous bubble. I shall shut up.

    Thanks for that. Sometimes selective memory loss is not very healthy for me.

  8. Zuzana:

    It is definitely an art form or it used to be. My friend tells me that I carved my name in her bedroom mirror -- now thats something I forget while writing this post.


    This kind of defacing, I think is part of every culture at all times. But the purpose of graffiti has ceased to be what it was. I like your last line:
    "Every misfortune found induces me more aggressively to hold onto my dreams and aspirations for a healthier world."
    You seem to be a revolutionary in your own way. Nice.

  9. Sukanya:

    You must be from Madras. PTC buses and all. I travel in them as well. But now it is MTC.
    Vent out feelings -- is that true in today's world? I have mixed feelings as it is more or less an activity to pass idle time.

    A lovely Sunday to well Sukanya.

    Joy always.

  10. I'm glad I found some interesting place to discuss a lot of things. :D
    Well, this particular post reminded me of my school days when we actually used to draw the pictures of our school teachers on the black boards and in the toilets. (ofcourse without the artist's name):)
    One such image in the form of broom stick witch is still there on the wall near the parking area of my school even after soo many years.
    Well Graffiti for me is a kind of expression. Apart from the already mentioned places, it can be found on the currency as well.People do such things to let others know their existence and may be to vent out their feelings. And some just do it for the fun of looking at their own art after a long time. But it is a sad thing that in the instinctive urge to express we fail to realise that in the process we are infact doing a huge damage to the public properties.

  11. Asif:

    Welcome to the meanderings and yes this is indeed a nice place to dialogue as there are interesting people with multifaceted interests and opinions.

    You know Asif, in this post I have mildly reprimanded people who deface public property but my friend reminded me that I carved my name in her mirror. So I guess this habit is definitely part of growing up. But on second thoughts a friend's mirror is not public property.

    As Zuzana mentioned in her comment, i wish we also have a public square where one can write anything to express, vent out and proclaim a cause.

    And Asif thanks for the following. I appreciate it.

    Do drop by whenever.

    Joy always.

  12. hi susan! great topic and great comments - i, for one, perceive graffiti a form of self-expression and have no problem with it at all - as a matter of fact, i enjoy seeing it and the degree of creativity that a lot of it has - however, i am not speaking of graffiti that is hate-prompted, etc, but, just the "typical" kind of self-expressive outlay of words and images where perhaps there is no other avenue for that outlay for those doing it -

    again, neat subject, susan!

    oh, and i left you another little note over at my blog about the "heart thing" - please, don't give any of it a second thought! as i said in my second comment to you, it is important to see the whole of things and you pointed that out to us - thanks! ;)

  13. How do you come up with such topics? People wouldn't even have thought about writing on them.

    Well, what can anybody say about graffiti on heritage structure? It is only done by people who do not have pride in our heritage and those with a perverse mindset. Same is true about littering heritage places with plastic and metal leftovers. Inspite of notices being put around, nobody bothers. I guess, people listen only when there is someone with a cane to discipline them.

  14. Dear Jenean:

    Thanks for coming by lady. Hmmm. Graffiti as an art form is definitely appreciated but defacing public property is not.

    Jenean, I feel that the graffiti like the one I have posted here is definitely of no great value except for passing time on hand.

    As for the note Jenean, nice of you to do that. Hugs. A state of mind overtly expressed in public domain.


    Thanks for the nice words. I can perfectly understand your angst for defacing public property. We need to curb that. College benches can be forgiven but not heritage sites.

    Joy always.

  15. Susan
    I am going to have to put some thought into that one...the first thing that came to mind is the first book I fell in love with in my college years. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. It open with graffiti on a wall...'Who is John Galt?'. Funny that I can still recall it all these years later..that book changed my life :)
    I am passing on the Sunshine Award to you to thank you for these past months of comments on my blog. It has meant a lot to me:) Thank you!

  16. I think that depending on where you are in the world, graffiti will affect you in different ways. In some countries, graffiti is considered a form of art. For example, just last night, I was watching a food programme on TV and this man was visiting a restaurant somewhere in Texas that is about 150 years old. One of the restaurants trademarks is its graffiti! Right at the beginning, when the restaurant was first launched, the owners began to ask the guests to leave their little notes on the walls and tables and floors. And the restaurant owners are still the same family, the descendants of the original owners. And they've never changed anything in the restaurant. So now the restaurant is covered in graffiti, but that is sort of its ambiance, if you know what I mean.

    In other countries, the idea of graffiti suggests disorder and challenging the norms of society... if you will, it is considered a form of vandalism.

    I suppose I can see both sides of the issue, but graffiti doesn't bother me unless there is blatant threat inside it.

    Nice topic for discussion, Susan. You do it every time!


  17. I feel so suburban saying this, but graffiti annoys me. I have to examine myself and see why I feel this way. I think it has to do with that I mostly see it expressing hate toward a certain group.

  18. I think graffiti is fine form of expression, as long as one does it, in their own territory. Certainly not on other people's walls, school desks and tree trunks.

    Blogged hopped my way here. Like your thoughts. :)

  19. Hello Susan:)
    On a recent trip to the Taj Mahal I was appalled to see similar disfigurement ( as shown in the picture) on some of the outer walls of the mausoleum. I felt enraged. Expressing one's feelings is certainly not a bad idea at all, but done in this fashion, it certainly does become one.
    Grafitti when used to express an ideology or to mobilize public opinion for a good cause,is acceptable and may be appreciated as an art, but when it comes to such meaningless doodling with no thought given behind the act, it becomes despicable.
    Good topic you chose to write about Susan...

  20. Jeanne:

    You are so kind and thoughtful to bestow the second award to me. Jeanne, you're a sugar-plum so endearing.

    And yes, Ayn Rand. I used to like her writing during my College days but now I detest her!!!


    Your comments are a great compliment to my posts for in them there is always a value-addition. You are right when you say that graffiti varies from place to place.
    And it would be lovely to visit that restaurant in Texas. Sounds nice.
    I also see it as an art as long as public property like heritage buildings are not defaced in the process.

  21. Angie:

    Graffiti like the one in the picture annoys me as well dear Angie.


    Welcome and thanks for sharing your insights. They mean a lot to me. Shall check on your place as well.


    Ah! Don't talk to me about the Taj. I was quite upset seeing graffiti there. There you are: meaningless doodling irks me as well.
    Thanks for your kind words, as always dear Ruchi.

    Joy always.

  22. I agree with you in general: graffiti is just mindless vandalism. However, I note that neither you nor any of your commenters have mentioned Banksy.

    Much of his work makes a serious political point, such as the images he painted on the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank. Other work makes the viewer think.

    In the UK, local residents have been known to petition for a Banksy graffito to be kept when the local authority has announced plans to remove it.

  23. Most of this "graffiti" is done by idiotic miscreants who think the world wants to know their twisted understand of love and to dirty public walls and monuments just show how retarded they are. It's most likely that these scribbles will outlast that particular love they engrave about. :D

  24. ok. i have to admit.. i know it sounds terribly uncool to own up to this.. that i have NEVER done any graffiti before..

    it just gave me an idea. Maybe i should try it sometime ;P

    Much love,

  25. Dennis:

    This is the first time I am hearing about Bansky. Thanks for sharing this information with us. I will read up on him.


    Welcome to the meanderings and thanks for writing your insights. The point you have made is worth reflecting. Your anger and irritation comes out very poignantly in your comment.

    Thanks for coming by :)

    Dear Silver:

    NEVER: Great. Proud of you but as an afterthought, it does make some impact (on our self) by giving us a few moments of glory and ego-boosting.

    Have a joyful remainder of the week.

  26. I love text so unless the graffiti
    is vulgar {to me, someone else may
    not feel that way} I usually enjoy
    the urban artform.

  27. Long time Cyn :)

    Hope your weekend is lovely.

  28. Susan, I would invite you to read my first short story titled "Gary" that I posted on my blog Storywheel. You may find a different perspective about Graffiti.



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