Graffiti can be found on almost any surface and can range from petty forms of vandalism to works of art.


New York City graffiti originated the subway system but true graffiti culture flourished in Washington Heights in the early 1970s. Famous tags at the time were names like “TAKI 183” and tag styles began to evolve from bubble lettering to wildstyle. Over time graffiti grew competitive as more elaborate illustrations began to appear. Graffiti grew at an alarming rate covering subway cars and city streets. The first war on graffiti occurred in 1972, but lacked the resources needed to impact the growing subculture. It was not till 1995 when Mayor Giuliani implemented the Anti-Graffiti Task Force to really begin to crack down on quality of life crimes. This campaign push through new laws making it illegal to sell aerosol spray cans to children under 18 and fining violators of graffiti crimes a sum of $350 per incident. There is still much debate over whether graffiti should be considered works of art. You be the judge.

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