Graffiti art appearing around campus

Graffiti artists tag various surfaces around University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Photo by Adam Pennavaria | Staff

By Ryan Schmieder| @kykernel

UK has become home to a variety of different graffiti art this semester, causing mixed reactions among students and faculty.

At the beginning of the second semester, new graffiti was popping up almost every week behind White Hall Classroom Building, on the sides of the Chemistry-Physics Building, in parking garages all over campus and around W. T. Young Library.

The tags seen most by students were “Phuck,” which can still be seen near the library and in parking garages and “Jam,” which was formerly located on the Chem-Phys Building, but was recently removed.

“Graffiti is about looking at a blank space and bringing life to it. Blank gray walls are boring and graffiti is an art form that everyone can enjoy,” an anonymous tagger said.

Although some people enjoy graffiti, the idea of having it on campus is still too extreme for others.

“The school should continue to enforce the rules on graffiti, because if not, the entire campus would get covered,” communications freshman Alex Patrick said. “Besides, these rules just add to the spontaneity of it all, sometimes a beautiful piece only lasts a couple days which makes it even greater when you do see amazing graffiti.”

Some students seem to believe graffiti definitely has the potential to be a beautiful form of art, but it has no place on UK’s campus.

“In my opinion, a university should be graffiti free. It’s supposed to yield a prestigious atmosphere, but I don’t think it should just go unnoticed. It deserves attention in order to keep the university to uphold its esteemed reputation,” Molly McCollough, architecture freshman said.

Intermedia lecturer Sarah Wylie A. VanMeter sees graffiti as art, but there is an important distinction to be made between graffiti as art or vandalism.

She went on to say laws and rules against graffiti are what make good street art so powerful.

“Graffiti artists like Banksy, whose work even covers the wall dividing Israel and Palestine, push against the law and create a very real and meaningful conversation, and then that conversation becomes more than the art itself.

This is when graffiti can reach its highest form, in my opinion,” VanMeter said.

Just FYI, this graffiti stuff is against the law. Ever heard of Criminal Mischief? It’s not your property so why damage it.

This is an awesome article. I’m glad someone’s bringing attention to it. Graffiti can be the most meaningful art when done correctly. The spontaneity, the rule-breaking, the mystique. It all adds up. Seeing a piece of art in a gallery on a scheduled visit is great, but when you see one stylized word or figure in a place you don’t expect when you’re lost in your own thoughts or the business of the day — that art can change your brain. Graffiti is special, but the rules need to be enforced, for the good of the school and for the good of the art.

That is art? I hate that it is happening at my alma mater. Los Angeles is full of taggers. One was shot and killed about ten years ago.