Graffiti with RISK

Mainstream media and society view graffiti as only a crime, and ignore the meanings behind the art and why it was created in the first place. Graffiti is a crime, but is a crime that speaks out against all that is wrong in the world and messages that are being expressed through street art. Graffiti shows how different places in this world are full of governments that are corrupt, drugs that overwhelm the streets, or an economy that is failing. These cities that are struggling with these issues are painted from top to bottom with huge paintings of graffiti to express the public concerns. Graffiti artists are aware that these works of art are not going to change the world, but getting your voice heard and raising awareness is a step in the right direction.


  The risk that surrounds graffiti is a huge piece of why the artists choose to express their ideas this way. Yes, graffiti is illegal and can be destructive, but it also represents freedom and love.


Street art in Melbourne, Hosier Lane that is a popular tourist attraction. Melbourne allows for all kinds of street art and even encourages it.


Taiwan has a legal gray area with graffiti. Police officers do not get involved and let people express their art all over the city.

To check out other places where graffiti is legal

Sara Spiegel


Art & Democracy

What is  Democracy when it comes to graffiti? Graffiti is intallay the definition of democracy whether it be legal or illegal, the sole purpose of graffiti art is to free your life from the restraints of society and represent your own personal thoughts and values through artwork. Artists put the values, personal morals, and perspectives through their  representative art pieces that reflect what the artist believes in.We cannot argue that mural and street art are demostrations of art that people can admire for free.The Remix Manifesto, one of my favorite movies about the controlling of culture, stated “Corporations are completely taking over our culture, telling us that we can only consume it. We are saying no! We are saying we want to create with it and respond to it. Take it, mutilate it and cut it up. We are saying you don’t ask us when you want to put up a billboard everywhere I go in my town. You don’t ask me if I want to see your Nike logo. You don’t ask me if I want to hear U2’s music every time I go shopping or when I am eating at a restaurant. So why do I need to ask you to take a little bit and make something out of it”(Gaylor, 2008). If you can be creative make something that reflects your aspects of society. If you feel there’s is social injustice and inequality that ravages the structure of our society then express that through,music, art, media, text. Make your voice heard. This is what a Democratic society should be, the freedom of expression. The world is an open canvass that is ready to be creatively explored by anyone and everyone and should not be controlled! So lets come together and redesign America as a nation, and show what it means to be a democratic society.

Jasper Thomas


Graffiti Talks: The Fight Against Student Debt

One of most commonly recognized social problems nationwide is the rapid increase in tuition expenses and the large amount of debt that overwhelms students after graduation. With the job market constantly changing and with secondary education becoming so expensive, students are questioning whether or not obtaining a degree is worth the time and money.


Increasing in popularity is the use of graffiti on college campuses to create awareness, express feelings, and promote change in the educational systems. The image above shows a billboard for the University of Auckland which was anonymously tagged with the purpose of warning others about the harsh reality of the financial struggles associated with a student-debt1college education. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst students are working on a student debt fence project in which students can submit ideas or post signage to a metal link fence with the purpose of raising awareness of this issue. Students are finding inspiration from famous street artists, such as Banksy, whose work is filled with meaningful social commentary.


Graffiti as Expression

Student debt is affecting students all over the country. Some students are graduating their universities with over $60,000 in debt. This leaves students with a huge wake up call when they graduate and owe more money then they have ever seen. The government needs to be aware of how many students are struggling with this debt. Many people have turned to video advertising, online advertising, and art. One form of art that our group has been drawn too is graffiti art.


Graffiti art is everywhere. You pass by it on your way to class, while your driving under a bridge, or on the side of some building while traveling on the highway. These artists have something to say and make a lot of noise with there graffiti expressions. Graffiti has been used as another way for the public to hear these students cry for help. Everyone deserves the same opportunity when it comes to a college degree. We are in a State School here at Umass and to graduate with such significant debt should not be possible. Our voices need to be heard.


Art can be described in so many different ways. Politics, economics, and culture can all be described through art. Art is so much more then a small drawing or a scribble on a wall. Each piece of art tells a story about the artist. Graffiti is one of the most expressive types of art that makes a loud statement. Through powerful colors, pure talent, and unique placement graffiti is the type of art every type of person looks at.


Earlier this year in the center of Boston, MA  the Institute of Contemporary Art commission Brazilian brother Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo to paint a suspicious character on the side of an old ventilation building. The character had yellow skin and looked of Muslim decent. This painting got the public talking. Is the character a terrorist? News statements were researching, the public was talking, and a statement was being made. Some people say act of violence, or criminal, but we say graffiti is ART that is full of expression and meaning.

Here is the difference of European and United States street art


Sara Spiegel

History of Graffiti in Social Movements

Revolutions can only begin if the people want change. It is our duty as members of a democratic society to express our knowledge and distrust in the systems that governs us.  Uprisings all over the world show different groups of people fighting back against these systems.  Through graffiti and street art specifically, people are able to take a creative approach at inspiring change in those around them and are able to simply and creatively bring sense to complicated situations. These artists are inspired to alter the visual landscapes around them, landscapes that suffocate people with billboards and advertisements.  Parisians, Nicaraguans, and South Africans alike used this form of expression to break a discourse of hegemony that existed and ruled them.

In the late 1960’s in Paris, a group of students known as the Enragés took to the walls of the streets and universities in protest.  “Commodities are the opium of people” were such phrases booming off these walls, coinciding with the student and worker occupation strikes of the time.  Parisians used the arts to let their imaginations explode in reaction to the repression they felt in French society.

A young Nicaraguan women standing next to an example of a Sandino graffiti piece.

A young Nicaraguan women standing next to an example of a Sandino graffiti piece.

Nicaraguans, during the July 1979 revolution over Anastasia Somoza, used pinta to refer to the extensive use of graffitied politically driven slogans.  A group of people known as the FSLN would create their art overnight in order to keep secret from police forces.  During this era in Nicaragua, there were little to no media outlets and the two channels they had access to were controlled by the US government, so graffiti was recognized as the ‘news media bursting from the walls’.  A symbol of the Nicaraguan revolution was Augusto Sandino, whose cowboy-like image was scattered through much of the graffiti in this era.  Sandino was a Nicaraguan leader of the 20’s and 30’s who resisted US impact and persuasion in Nicaragua.  This art form gave Nicaraguan’s a political voice that ultimately led to Anastasia Somoza’s decline.

An example of anti-apartheid street art with moving messages in the late 1970's in South Africa.

An example of anti-apartheid street art with moving messages in the late 1970’s in South Africa.

Likewise in South Africa, this art form assisted in social change by giving the people a democratic voice during an apartheid era of extreme racial segregation.  During the 1970’s, the South African youth or ‘cultural workers’ were able to come together through music, theatre, graffiti, and creative art to express their anti-apartheid sentiments.  Youth used posters and t-shirts to cover the streets with messages of peace and requests for change.  A South African artist, Sue Williamson wrote “as press censorship increases, the writing on the wall has become required reading.”  Government control during this era pushed the people to the streets as an outlet to insist change.

Street art played a role in the social movements in France, Nicaragua, and South Africa.  Most of the time led by educated youth who saw the flaws of the society they were a part of a resistance movement against  the oppression by the governments of their time.  These movements were empowering, creative, artistic, and democratically powerful.

–Erika Hoekstra

Vice: Drip Ink Graffti

We caught up with Craig Costello, graffiti artist and creator of KRINK, the notorious brand responsible for drip style markers, mops, and fire extinguishers.

As a punk kid growing up in Queens, Craig would scavenge for supplies to paint the walls and buildings of New York. His desire to create larger pieces and invent unique graffiti tools led to the development of his internationally recognized ink and paint brand Krink Inc. Craig’s signature style morphed out of his modifications and innovations with paint tools; using a fire extinguisher filled with paint and paint markers rather than spray paint, his style became an instant hit in many cities around the world.