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Graffiti Quotes To Enhance Life’s Canvas

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Our graffiti quotes are a collection of funny, insightful, and beautifully expressed ideas about graffiti. 

These quotes about graffiti are sure to win you over. 

What is the message in graffiti? 

As an art form, contemporary graffiti started in the hip hop culture that formed in the 1960s. 

Hip hop culture was created by African, Caribbean, and Latino Americans of New York City who formed new forms of expression. 

Along with break dancing, DJing and emceeing, graffiti art is one of the original elements of hip hop culture. 

What started as writers and taggers creating protest art in public spaces has become a worldwide collective self-expression phenomenon. 

Graffiti art speaks to people.

As a genre, graffiti has many positive aspects.

Here are some of the benefits of graffiti: 

  • Graffiti is a powerful form of expression.
  • Graffiti can help spread awareness.
  • Graffiti can brighten up and beautify a building. 

Banksy is an artist who uses his work to address topics relevant to all of us. 

On graffiti he notes, “Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist.”

Unfortunately, nay-sayers paint graffiti with a broad brush and stereotype all of it as gang-related. 

However, this is a common misunderstanding. 

Of course, some gangs engage in graffiti, but that does not make all graffiti the work of gangsters looking to tag turf. 

Graffiti as cultural expression

Graffiti is a nuanced art that often brings attention to social issues worth looking into. 

Some of the most well-known graffiti artists are Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Lady Pink, Seen and Keith Haring. 

Check out our awesome graffiti quotes below for more inspiration. 

Short graffiti quotes

These graffiti quotes are sweet and to the point. 

1. “If it takes more than 5 minutes, it’s not graffiti.” ― Mint Serf

2. “Scars: the graffiti of violence.” ― Jim Butcher

4. “Blank walls are a shared canvas and we’re all artists.”― Carla H Krueger

5. “I started off as a graffiti artist in the South Bronx.” — Swizz Beatz

3. “A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

7. “I didn’t have much of a life in crime as a graffiti writer.” — Ryan McGinley

6. “Graffiti is beautiful; like a brick in the face of a cop.” Hunter S. Thompson

8. “Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti

9. “When you can’t think of anything else, photograph graffiti, nudes, or plants.” — Bill Jay

10. “Graffiti doesn’t exist unless someone got a photo because it’s gone immediately.” — Jeffrey Deitch

Graffiti quotes about art

These quotes make the case that graffiti is art. 

11. “If Graffiti is art and art is a crime, then how come Picasso never done time?” — Melvin Glover

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12. “I laugh at the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism.” — Carla H. Krueger

13. “Everybody’s trying to leave their mark on the world. That’s why there’s graffiti and babies.” — Kristen Schaal

14. “One piece of graffiti doesn’t mean much. Forty pieces of graffiti might mean something. It’s all about connecting the dots.” — Kim Rossmo

15. “Graffiti writers will never stop. They’ll just evolve. It’s interesting what ideas people come up with and how it all extends forward.” — Ben Eine

16. “Some people are enraged, and some people are applauding. If there were a mission statement for graffiti, that would be it.” — Barry McGee

17. “Graffiti is something written on a wall, and, of course, art can be exhibited or produced anywhere: a wall is just another venue.” — Matthew Slotover

18. “Today I believe that man cannot escape his destiny to create whatever it is we make – jazz, a wooden spoon, or graffiti on the wall.” Orson Welles

19. “Now everybody’s bloggin’. I heard somebody say, “Blogging is just graffiti with punctuation.” Everyone’s an authority, so there’s nobody in power, ‘cause everyone thinks they’re in power.” — Ice T

20. “Environmental damage such as graffiti, fly-posting, and general littering is a menace that is becoming all too prevalent, not just in inner cities but in many communities – urban and rural.” — Margaret Beckett

Grafitti quotes about life

Life is like a canvas, and these quotes encourage you to paint your best picture. 

21. “Obviously, murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes.” — Rudy Giuliani

22. “Lawbreaking, graffiti artist, dumb jock that I am, I’m pretty socially conscious.” — Duff Goldman

23. “A group of ducks is a raft, and a cluster of crows is a murder, but what collection of birds is a gang? Probably geese. They are always engaging in lawlessness and doing graffiti.” ― Jarod Kintz

24. “A digital sound sample in angry rap doesn’t correspond to the graffiti but the wall.” — Jaron Lanier

25. “His achievements read like the graffiti on the walls of a hangman’s changing room.” — Jonathan Larson

26. “The thing about social media is that it is anonymous, so it can be much more vitriolic and extreme than normal media, and yet it is there for everyone to see. It is kind of like electronic graffiti.” — Tony Abbott

27. “Graffiti is a lot easier than the canvas, actually, because it’s such a large format, so when you’re going to such a thin detail, it’s not that thin in the realm of things because it’s such a big wall.” — Alec Monopoly

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28. “After pop art, graffiti is probably the biggest art movement in recent history to have such an impact on culture.” — Jeffrey Deitch

29. “It’s strange with graffiti. You put a lot out, but you don’t get that much back because not many people know who’s doing it.” — KAWS

30. “All the work I did was to challenge politics, culture, and women’s rights. I felt like I really wanted to break out. That’s why I wanted to use graffiti. It’s more open. I don’t need people to come to an exhibition. Graffiti gives a voice to the walls.” — Malina Suliman

Graffiti quotes by Banky

Check out these graffiti quotes from acclaimed artist Banksy. 

31. “Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist.” — Banksy

32. “Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.” — Banksy

33. “People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible, and childish, but that’s only if it’s done properly.” — Banksy

34. “Graffiti ultimately wins out over proper art because it becomes part of your city; it’s a tool.” — Banksy

35. “Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked.” — Banksy

36. “I don’t think you should have to pay to look at graffiti. You should only pay if you want to get rid of it.” — Banksy

37. “Should graffiti be judged on the same level as modern art? Of course not: It’s way more important than that.” — Banksy

38. “Graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people; politicians, advertising executives, and graffiti writers.” — Banksy

39. “All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.” — Banksy

40. “The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit.” — Banksy

Graffiti quotes about crime

Some believe graffiti is art, while others reduce it to vandalism. These quotes question both sides.

41. “If today I was a graffiti, I would be one on a train that goes to the South of France.” Alain Bremond-Torrent

42. “I like to leave little notes around as I have traveled. It’s like a semi-permanent graffiti for the soul.” ― Owen D Hill

43. “But there’s no way round it-commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist. We’re not supposed to be embraced in that way.” — Banksy

44. “Is graffiti art or vandalism? That word has a lot of negative connotations, and it alienates people, so no, I don’t like to use the word ‘art’ at all.” — Banksy

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45. “However, if he really wanted to bust me, all he had to do was ask to see my schoolbooks. The front and back covers are the first place graffiti artists start to draw.” ― Drexel Deal

46. “Traditional graffiti writers have a bunch of rules they like to stick to, and good luck to them, but I didn’t become a graffiti artist so I could have somebody else tell me what to do.” — Banksy

47. “In Afghanistan, I was doing street art because it was more open, but when I had a show, only men would come. I said I’m an artist not only for men but for women too. So that’s why I like graffiti.” — Malina Suliman

48. “Across the street from the van was a board fence. Someone had spray-painted incomprehensible graffiti on it—could have been an ambigram for all she knew, legible upside-down as well as right-side-up.” ― S.A. Hunt

49. “Remember, crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.” — Banksy

50. “The difference between what we see and a sheet of white paper with a few thin lines on it is very great. Yet this abstraction is one which we seem to have adopted almost instinctively at an early stage in our development, not only in Neolithic graffiti but in early Egyptian drawings. And in spite of its abstract character, the outline is responsive to the least tremor of sensibility.” — Kenneth Clark

What did you learn from these graffiti quotes?

Graffiti has come a long way since its humble beginnings. 

Still, some critics suggest graffiti did not begin as an art form at all, but rather, as a form of text-based urban communication that developed its own networks. 

Art evolves and changes with every era of time. 

As it ebbs and flows, the standards for what qualifies as art also move. 

What is an art to some is considered illegal to others. 

Graffiti is a world where art, expression and beauty are mixed with potential fines and possible jail time. 

Today’s graffiti artists continue to draw inspiration from the world around them. 

No longer reduced to New York City subway cars, graffiti has solidified itself as a bona fide art. 

Cities and towns across the country set aside space for graffiti artists to create murals that unite communities. 

Be sure to tell us your favorite graffiti quote in the comments below. 

Clifton Sankofa
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