All countries have in common the fact that a description of graffiti often revolves around the two questions concerning the artistic value and the legality of the graffito. Thereby, these two indicators are estimated in different ways that vary – understandably – with the referring point of view.

Many literature sources oscillate in different ways between their references to ‘graffiti vandalism’, ‘graffiti’ and also ‘street art’, as all having something to do with each other. Therefore, a general definition that includes this large variety of manifestations can only be reduced to a very general common denominator. Referring to the literature a basic definition of graffiti can be made by its description as “…visual perceptible elements (...), that vary in their colour selection, size
and complexity and are often attached unsolicited at places that are well visible” (Steinat, 2007: 12).

As already mentioned the “artistic value” and “legality” are important aspects for the estimation of graffiti. And although the tolerance towards graffiti may increase with its artistic value, there is no objective information about how much these kinds of graffiti have a more or less destructive, tolerable or positive value than other graffiti, as this corresponds with the situation of the viewer, whether he or she is in the role of the victim, the perpetrator or a viewer from the sidelines.

For more information on the description of graffiti, please see in resources: Graffolution D2.2 Regional, cultural, ethical, privacy and legal aspects and influence factors report.


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