Socialising the Anti-Social, Bringing Together the Graffiti Culture and Forming an Online Community

Graffiti culture is known by many to be something that is anti-social in nature and almost never seen to be practiced openly. The modern culture that we witness today was derived from the Hip-hop culture and has many negative political and rebellious social overtones to the messages that people write. But could it be that we just misunderstand what is essentially another form of creative expression by individuals that are merely displaying their form of art?

With the rise of digital social network and online communities there is now more than ever, more people coming together in groups that share similar interests and opinions. And with them doing so, opening themselves up to people, who are not from that area of interest but are curious to learn more about it. The reason that we don’t actively see graffiti art being practiced is that you can be arrested for vandalism or destruction of property if caught and that graffiti “crews” like to compete with each other in battles to see who can produce the most impressive creations. The individuals or groups of people that write graffiti have always operated under secrecy in order to protect their identities from persecution, but the anonymity of the internet gives opportunities to bring their artwork across to the world and gain recognition of their ideas.

The online graffiti community can come together quite easily through the sharing of common interests. For instance a user can post their latest creation from their black book and get feedback from others regarding the style or subject matter. This is something that wouldn’t normally happen on the streets giving rise to stagnating of styles of what is really a genuine form of personal illustrative art. So given this method of online idea exchange the creativity of this art form can be expanded and developed maybe to a point that it could start to be used in commercial advertising or art trade (such as Banksy!) and collection. Graffiti as a whole is found outside on just about everything that can be painted and even if online graffiti should become popular it will always be found marking our environments so I’m not saying that this is a cure of this kind of vandalism, merely describing a less harmful outlet. People have been using this form of expression since pre-history and it is unlikely to change overnight or be replaced entirely. The forums that can be found that deal just with the graffiti culture are a good start to get people more interactive through the sharing of ideas and opinions, they are also good for new people interested in the genre. The discussions are none too different than what you would expect when speaking to a photographer or illustrator about their work.