Speaking with...

Speaking with: Cameron McAuliffe on graffiti, art and crime

Speaking with: Cameron McAuliffe on graffiti, art and crime. CC BY-ND21.2 MB (download)

Is graffiti art or crime?

The modern form of graffiti made its way to Australia from the US in the 1980s, and it quickly was characterised as a blight on our urban landscapes. Classified as vandalism, many cities adopted tough legal measures to deter graffiti artists from tagging walls and trains.

Today, the situation largely remains the same. Graffiti is still illegal. The city of Hobart recently “declared a war” on graffiti, as have many other cities and councils. Even US film director David Lynch is reported to have said that graffiti “has pretty much ruined the world” at a recent speech at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art.

But at the same time, cities have also begun to value and promote street art - effectively a legal form of graffiti. Street art is now recognised as having both cultural and economic value, and many graffiti artists have transitioned to take advantage of this legal recognition of their practice.

Dallas Rogers speaks with Cameron McAuliffe about the relationship between graffiti and street art, and the value of these art forms to the urban environment and the economies of our cities.


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Music: Free Music Archive/Shadow Priest: Street Theatre (CC BY-NC-ND)