What graffiti artists mean when they talk about a "Tag," is an individual visual design, signature or sign that identifies ownership of the artwork.
There are a lot of characteristic formalities of the youth culture that surrounds tag writing. Some young people call this kind of artistic statement 'bombing.' What this name refers to is the 'fly by night' aspect of the sudden appearance of the graffiti on any attractive blank wall. This graffiti is often thought of as a scourge by businesses, train station management and others who have public spaces that appeal to the invasive artists. The ideal graffiti space has large expanses of (usually light coloured) wall that can be viewed from a distance.
The names coded into this random artwork come about from nicknames, local slang, or from words that have a cool melodic ring to them. Different areas have adaptations of customary ways for works to evolve. There is no formal convention to the way these words are formed. However, it is usual; that a tag will have a limited number of letters. This allows the words to be large and scrawling in beautiful formations.
Artwork or Vandalism
Some graffiti writing is vandalism and other works are permitted by local councils, or commissioned by local businesses. Some councils will not allow graffiti to be commissioned in case it encourages more. There can be many reasons why young people take the risk of committing a crime such as vandalism.
Some reasons might be
0.the thrill is in the illegal nature of the night jaunts
0.the strange excitement of rebellion
0.the excitement of an attempt not to be caught.
0.a need to belong
0.a genuine desire to create art and no place to put it
Apparently a low self esteem and other psychological factors contribute to the growing presence of graffiti. It might well be the case. It could also be that these reasons are more likely an explanation about why kids are easily lead, and subject to peer pressure, rather than about the graffiti itself.
The label and the fact that the artistic statement can be seen as illegal graffiti or vandalism does not mean that the work has no artistic merit. The act of vandalism itself can be costly and socially aggravating. Public bodies lose money and private citizens rights can be invaded. Websites such as Vandal Watch take their place as a much needed preventative measure.
Legal Graffitti Schemes
Communities that have legal graffiti schemes seem to be better able to manage the phenomenon. They can develop ways to channel the energies of youth into a more career like and educationally sound use of their artistic skills. The upsurgance hip hop and rap as a form of music, has caused graffiti art to be linked respectfully as another valid artform. Many local councils (internationally) now find harnessing this youthful exuberance a productive way to protect the environment as well as provide an outlet for errant creativity.
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