Academic Writing Mr.Jolly
11 June 2015
No Need for Imprisonment for Graffiti
Last week, North Carolina legislators voted to create the new crime of "graffiti vandalism" to punish people who spray paint on or deface public property. Someone convicted of the crime would be guilty of the second most severe form of misdemeanor, face a minimum $500 fine and possibly 24 hours of community service. The crime would be upgraded to a felony on a third conviction if each of the first two convictions occurred on previous, separate occasions. Actually, North Carolina is neither the first nor the only state in the U.S. to send those sprayers to prison. Dating back in July, 2008, a group of Nevada graffiti artists were jailed for up to two years for defacing public property. Yet, ironically, as they begun their sentences, their work was to be championed by a Britain gallery. Then it leads to the question: Art or crime? Should the painters be sent into the jail? "If there's a clash of rights obviously those of the owner of the wall take precedence over those of the person painting on it, there's room for debate but jail sentences shouldn't be part of that."(Banksy, the man to credit for bringing street art into established gallery spaces).
On the face of it, as a society, we seem to be a little mixed-up when it comes to "graffiti", as you call it if you work in the local council's cleansing department, or "street art" as you say if you're the chap - and they do mainly seem to be blokes - wielding the spray can. However, the U.S. seems to be much more radical on this problem, especially in North Carolina. "Brazil for instance is more relaxed about it. In parts of Australia, they are like the US and people really hate graffiti and tags on vans and trains, but in Melbourne van drivers compete with each other as to whose is more decorated."(Cedar Lewinsohn, the curator of the exhibition at Tate Modern).