Murals versus Vandalism: What Counts as Art According to These Artists
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, September 18, 2019 12:57am
Art by Ahl Mirambel
Murals, as we know it, are artworks painted on a wall or other permanent surfaces. It is often associated with graffiti or vandalism.
This leaves us a question: Does graffiti vandalism count as art? The easy answer would be no. An article in New York Times says graffiti will always be a form of vandalism, which means involving the destruction or violation of someone’s property.
We took an opportunity to ask the local mural artists of Art in Island's Mural Fest on their views towards vandalism.
“Meaning ng vandalism is to destroy, so hindi siya art. Para maging art, kailangan merong beauty, beautification. Vandalism is not an art,” Jaynard Alpuerto said.
There ar alsoe artists who think graffiti is a form of art and self-expression. Whether it is about politics or society, the so-calledvandals use spray paints to paint public walls.
A Mural Fest finalist, Dandy Cabillon, says graffiti is neoexpressionism, an art style that involves portraying recognizable subjects in a rough and violent, almost brutish manner.
Dandy also believes these “vandals” are social realists—artists who want to draw attention to the people’s socio-political conditions and criticize the authorities. In other words, graffiti vandalism is a social protest.
Another mural artist, Edzon dela Cruz, thinks the only difference between a graffiti and a mural is the style—graffiti takes on a modern style while mural is on the classical side.
But if you’ll ask artists Michael Briquillo and Arthur Toledo, graffiti vandalism is based on how you view it. If it sparks something within you, then maybe it is art. But if you think it only creates a dirtier environment, you might not consider it as an artwork.
“[Ang graffiti] art din siya kaso may sometimes nadudulot na masama sa environment. Kung maganda ang pagkatira, form of art siya. Pag nakita siya [graffiti], maapektuhan tayo. Pero kung vandalism na tungkol sa mga negatives, maapektuhan tayo, pero makikita natin, marumi yan,” Michael said.
These statements all boil down to the people who see these paintings or vandalism. With that, we’ll leave you with Rainbow Rowell’s quote from Eleonor and Park, “Art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” Can we only consider murals as art, or is there a space for graffiti vandalism as artworks?
In a bid to spark and raise awareness about the environment, Art in Island conducted the Mural Fest and Mural Competition. They assigned chosen mural artists to paint the walls along 15th Avenue in Cubao with the theme #EcoChallenge. They have different concepts but all point to one mission: to save the environment through art.