Letter: Graffiti not art, but unsightly damage

Letter to AppealDemocrat.com on graffit… What do you think?

We are living on a graffiti planet. It’s on freeways, overpasses, buildings and billboards. It’s shaped the urban landscape from Paris to L.A. It’s intensified over the years.

The first time I noticed it I was stationed on Guam during World War II. Someone wrote “Kilroy was here” on a quonset-hut, put there by American troops. In my travels around the world I’ve seen graffiti in almost every major city, even on the pyramids. We humans seem to have a desire to deface, and put our signature on buildings, and walls; there’s a need to leave our mark.

There’s an enormity to it now; it is widespread throughout the world. It’s a way to communicate social messages. Some claim it isn’t simple vandalism, it’s an artistic expression employed around the world. I regard it as unsightly damage. It’s existed since ancient times, going back to the Roman Empire, and range from simple scratch marks to elaborate wall paintings. Gang “taggers” deface in order to communicate their social messages on property without the owners’ consent.

Now, in, some circles it’s a form of legitimate art. Last year in L.A. alone, 7,622,234 square feet of graffiti was removed from along freeways at a cost of $2.7 million.

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