I was walking home from my Yoga class last Wednesday and was drawn to something I pass every single day. Graffiti on the structural columns that support I-280 in San Francisco. I took a brave move by standing on the Caltrain tracks (no, no trains were coming) to appreciate them for a few minutes.
Graffiti, by definition, means illustrations (drawings) or texts (painted words) in public property. Without the owner’s consent (I am assuming the nature of the “art” I observed was made without a permit from the City) they classify as vandalism which is a punishable crime.
Although I do not by any means promote vandalism or any liberties on property that do not belong to me, I actually think that these structural support would look less interesting, less urban and just plain industrial without these. Definitely not depicting the San Francisco vibe and attitude of freedom of expression I am used to. I would definitely be less happy walking home by these columns if they were stripped clean. Imagine them without.
But with a permit from the city, the painted pictures and or words lose their “graffiti” oomph and just become another ubiquitous and approved “billboard”.
Is there a (legal yet visually appealing) middle ground ?
How do you feel about graffiti ?