I, like most people, love art. When done right it’s beautiful and creative and can tell an incredible story. But there are times when the definition of art simply isn’t, and its mere presence is more of a crime than anything creative or positive. Many cities, like Melbourne, for example, embrace artistry and culture. They began setting up legal walls to give graffiti artists and taggers an outlet, so that they wouldn’t have to use public and private areas as their canvass. And in some places it even worked for a while. But more times than not the tactic was a colossal failure, leaving people scratching their heads as to how they’re going to stop vandals from defacing their property. But why? Well, what many people fail to realise is that graffiti vandals LOVE a challenge. The most difficult an area is to get to, the more they want to get to it. That’s part of the culture. Ever been driving on the freeway and look up at a sign and see someone’s tag plastered across? How did they even get up that high? While I can’t answer the question of height, what I can tell you is they get extreme amounts of joy out of the idea that people are wondering how they got up that high. So community walls have no value to them whatsoever.
And besides that, many people see this as just a ploy. Whilst also strongly believing it sends the wrong message to our youth when we allow/encourage the use of these walls. Many satirically compare these walls to lax drunk driving laws, saying that since it’s obvious that people drink and drive, why not allow these drinkers to drive on a certain street, at specified times in the day?
Another problem with these walls is that people just don’t believe they work in the way they’re supposed to. Yes, teens might congregate around, but instead of the area being a positive outlet, things like increased gang activity and violence end up occurring.
So by and large, graffiti vandals end up taking over and generally use the free wall to practice what will soon appear all over buildings and whatever else is in the way. And what every community concern is soon becomes a reality. For those businesses that have unlimited money to spend on graffiti removal there’s no worry. But I doubt most people’s businesses fall into this category, so taking the necessary and preventable steps is the key to avoiding future graffiti hassle.