Graffiti is another word for painted images designed in different ways. They are in most cases put on walls or on property or in any other place deemed right by whoever is painting. Graffiti are mostly found in public places mostly on walls to complement the already signed paintings (Gastman & Teri, 4). Graffiti art has been in existence since the Roman dynasty and the ancient Greek. Unlike in those days when the painter would use brushes to come up with the painting, the modem times are making use of sprayers to apply paint and marker pens. These are the commonly used by many people nowadays. In many nations, putting graffiti on somebody's property is deemed illegal without his or her consent and can be punished by court. In most places like Los Angeles, graffiti is widely used to convey a certain message either political or social this basically depends on how the paint appears on the material applied. Depending on an individual, one can look at graffiti as vandalism while others still look at it as a masterpiece. In Los Angeles graffiti has been associated with hip hop music and underground life which is not mostly brought out to the public. This article will basically be an argument on graffiti in Los Angeles. It will be a look at the two sides of graffiti on the positive and negative side.
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In Los Angeles, application of graffiti on private property or even in public places without the consent of the owner is regarded as vandalism. The act is taken with a lot of seriousness and action can be taken on violators. In one of the areas in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, the residents of that place were pissed off with the whole issue of applying graffiti there and they resulted to fitting the place with cameras to track anyone who will be found doing it (Gastman & Teri, 9). The residents argued that the tunnel has always been the target and has been applied graffiti for quite sometime now. All those who apply all sorts of graffiti on the tunnel were further warned that the place is a no go zone. The residents were very angry. On the hand, they were some residents who were on the defensive about the same issue. They argued that, with the level of crime having risen up in Los Angeles, the residents would have thought of fitting the tunnel with cameras to get the criminals instead of channeling that effort on netting down artists who were indeed showing their talents. There is no doubt that, while some were looking at this in a negative perspective, others were looking at it as a display of talent and indeed a masterpiece.
In the same breath, it was deduced that, the amount of money which was spent on the same was approximately $36,000 to get rid of graffiti on the tunnel in 2009. The business people who hail from that region together with well wishers joined hands to raise the money. They were determined to remove the piece of art which to them was disgusting. They went a mile further to raise money to fit the place with surveillance cameras. However their argument was not recognized by all the residents. A number of them saw it as total wastage of money which could have been used on other important things. Some who all the same regretted about the resources wasted, held the view that, the money was enough to feed some hungry mouths in some children's' homes in Los Angeles (Gastman & Teri, 14). They saw nothing wrong with the talent displayed on the tunnel and felt that it could have been left to be. The cameras, they argued, can be used to beef up security in the area rather that to pin down the taggers. This clearly indicates that, while it might appear as a bad thing to some people, graffiti to others is what art is all about. Without graffiti, there is simply no art to show.
Still in Los Angeles, a committee met with an aim to declare war on vandalism by preventing the talented young people from purchasing paint for spraying and the acidic substance meant for etching materials. The committee pushed for an ordinance to perish the idea of selling these substances to teenagers below the age of 21 years. The council is also putting things in place to ensure that parents of such teenagers who are putting graffiti all over carelessly are penalized to assist in the removal of the same. However, when all this was taking place, there were those who saw no need for all that (Gastman & Teri, 45). Given that graffiti is work of art, they had the idea that, the teenagers were indeed nurturing their talent in art work and therefore had all the right to buy the substances any time they deemed it right. In the same breath, the business people were equally on the defensive, they felt that the council was overreacting and should not restrict people to buy the spray paint. They encouraged parents to continue giving money to their children who were interested in buying the same. Opposing the council's idea on restricting teenagers in buying of the paint, there were those who felt that the council was killing the art industry ignorantly and the federal government was called upon to intervene on behalf of the minority who had a different view altogether. They felt that the efforts of the council would receive a thumb up from all if it was dealing with drugs but not on such an activity meant to improve talent. The parents they said, should not be held accountable for what a teenager beyond the age of 18, such a person is a grown up. While the idea of the council was seen as a wise move by the majority who do not like graffiti in Los Angeles, the minority and especially parents held a different view.
As if not enough, the council sought further to involve the Los Angeles police department in eradicating the vice. To add on the same, the council decided to solicit the intervention of the lawyers in ensuring an ordinance banning the same had seen the light of the day. The council spokes person deduced that, there were cries even from the neighboring towns to deal with the vice. Graffiti was giving them a bad name and was not good for anybody as it was just there to torture the mind of the people. The council also argued that, if the money which the council had spent in cleaning of the same had been put into better use, the town would have been taken far in terms of development (Gastman & Teri, 58). The council also called upon the taxpayers to be very vigilant and report any incidence where graffiti was being drafted or any teenager below the age of 21 buying the substances meant for painting graffiti. However, those opposed to the move by the council of banning the graffiti felt that, if the campaign against graffiti had been channeled to such things as damping of waste in the city or any other form of pollution which had hit the city hard, it would have achieved the objective without any doubt. They felt that, such condemnation on a masterpiece which was not only a show of talent but also a beauty of the town was misplaced. The supporters of graffiti also deduced that, those who were not residents of Los Angeles had no business interfering with what was happening there. Graffiti was not meant to terrorize anyone's mind but those who were not amused by the same could simply ignore it. This clearly indicates that, graffiti terrorizes the mind of others while to some it is a talent worth showing.
The people in authority have continued to feel that, the law dealing with graffiti is very lenient and need to be tightened a bit. The fact that when one is driving around Los Angeles is met with graffiti in almost every other corner is an indication that, the offenders ignores it completely. In the same breath, the impact that comes with the punishment is not enough and cannot be compared with the damage done. They simply would like to borrow from their New York counterparts who have put in place very strict measures to curb the same; the city has since 2007 extended the dragnet to further pin down the taggers. The owners of property wish graffiti were issued with a notice demanding them to scrap of the graffiti within a period of two months or risk being penalized (Gastman & Teri, 74). Los Angeles authority is also considering effecting the same soonest possible. However, with all these plans underway, the National Paint and Coatings Association moved to court challenging the same. The same was echoed by those who earn a living out of graffiti and the supporters of the same. Graffiti should be given a place in Los Angeles and it was there to stay, the fact that some allowed the same on their buildings was enough to tell the authority that the masterpiece was indeed fabulous to catch the eyes of some people who were ready to pay any amount to have the same on the walls of their buildings. The paint firm felt that the move was indeed going to have an impact on their profits and many people will go without work. They felt that the authority that is supposed to protect their business was out to tarnish their business. This is yet another prove that, while the authority was very serious on considering issuing notice to building owners, the firm that produces the paints used to design graffiti in los Angeles was blocking the move besides getting a back up from the building owners and the lovers of the same.
In Los Angeles, Metro Transit Assassins are literally behind all the big graffiti in the town. The authority is indeed aware and links the same group with the vandalism of Los Angeles River adjacent to downtown. On hunting them, the authority managed to arrest some members of the sect alongside one of the artist who is said to be artist behind it. The authority further hinted that, these people are no ordinary Americans, but are driving big cars and wore very expensive jewels. The same people were associated with tags in other places like Las Vegas, San Francisco among others. The authorities registered their disappointment saying that many of the tags on the buses, trains and other places of public interest were painting a very bas image of Los Angeles to the visitors and the community at large. They simply were not ready to give those people to ruin the town's image (Gastman & Teri, 84). On the other hand, sharp criticism from the supporters of graffiti came as soon as the artists were arrested by the authority. The supporters felt that, if indeed the artist were driving expensive cars it is because their talent was being well paid. The artists should not be treated like drug lords who were walking around with big vehicles yet the authority took no action. Such hunting could otherwise be used on drug barons and not on innocent citizens who were earning a decent living. The supporters were for the idea that injustice had been done which was not fair. Some supporters even went to court to protest about the same. The above argument indicates that, while the authority was happy about arresting artists, supporters on the other hand held a different view all together. While they exposed their irritation on the same on public places and vehicles, there were those who were satisfied with the whole idea and saw nothing wrong with it.
In Los Angeles, when the artists and people hiring them are spending a fortune in putting of the graffiti, the authority is equally not left behind in the spending almost the same if not more in order to clean up the graffiti. In one of the incidence which probably is one of the most expensive, the authorities estimate that about 500 gallons in different ratios of paint were used to put the graffiti on Los Angeles River. In removal of the same, the experts estimated that almost $3.9 million would be spent to remove the same which is indeed becoming difficult. The type of equipment used in putting up of the same is equally expensive a clear indication that the taggers are ready and have a passion for what they are doing. The facilities enable them to spray the paint even on high places which makes the whole idea of removing the same very hectic. Responding on the same, the supporters felt that the authority was indeed not fair with the way they were destroying talents. The loss that was being experienced anytime the authority was attempting to destroy a talent was indeed a burden to the taxpayer of Los Angeles. The money could have been put into good use. A lot of resources were being put into waste which could have boosted the same artists in order to come up some good piece of art.
In some of the ugly incidents involving citizen's attempts to stop artists in the line of duty, it has come with a price to pay. In one of the incidences, two gentle men lost their lives while attempting to do it. The taggers could not listen to their calls to stop doing what they do best. Feeling that these two were interfering with their business, the taggers fired at them killing them instantly. The authorities condemned the incidence saying that it had taken a different direction where the lives of people were being put at stake (Gastman & Teri, 104). They called upon the citizens to be very careful with the taggers as they were not just ordinary criminals. They were further advised to avoid confronting them as it can lead to a big problem considering the fact that most of them were armed. However, when the police were criticizing the act and calling upon people to report such incidences, the supporters of graffiti held a different view. They argued that, to begin with, the two gentlemen had no business interfering wit somebody's way of earning livelihood. Secondly, the taggers were only defending themselves owing to criticism they have suffered over time as result they had decided to do with force and it is least of their worries whether somebody was to die or not. The above shows that, with or without the intervention of the authority, taggers will always receive supporters who will always justify their actions.
In conclusion, graffiti has received opposition from many in almost all states in America. Los Angeles has not been left behind in this although the efforts by the authority to stop graffiti have not been welcomed by many. The fight against the same is still on as artists continue stretching their muscles on the same (Gastman & Teri, 114).
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