Although its contemporary incarnation originated in the United States three decades ago, the art of graffiti can be found in urban areas of almost any country. Currently, the messages and drawings painted with spray on the walls, murals and other spaces have had extensive coverage by both citizen and traditional means. They slowly gain recognition as a controversial art, along with the emergence of other forms of urban expression such as stencils, posters, stickers and mixed media.
In public spaces, street art (or urban art) represents the voice of the community, of marginal groups, and of young people who strive to be heard, often in defiance of the notion of private property. Latin America is not the exception. A part of Latin American street art differs from that created by the hip-hop movement, by its focus on the political message and the stories of struggle that appeal directly to the observer.
Internet users preserve urban art because the photographed walls do not fade or decay over time. They can provide information such as the name or pseudonym of an artist, location, description, or even put the piece in context. In a group about the Peruvian graffiti, there is a discussion about the short careers of the artists, artist Zelva1 pointed out part of the social responsibility of urban art in Peru:
art in Peru needs a reform, because it has always had ruptures such as terrorism, corruption, poor education system and above all poverty, so with all these problems we can not progressed in any way, this country does not develop in any sense, art goes hand in hand with the development that if you do not cultivate this one you can not expect much, those practice graffiti I hope they have the awareness of the power that is to being on the street, therefore needs to be taken with responsibility and to do the best it is necessary to make sacrifices, sometimes stopping to paint egocentrically what one wants, what one can only understand ... and dedicate those forces and desire to represent what the community wants to see, and needs know ... always looking for the way to make it attractive, there's the job …
I was on the bus feeling a little bad for things in life, I thought nobody could have been worse off than me. I looked up and saw this image on a wall, I quickly thought that my problem was nothing compared to other people who live longer in trouble than in peace.
Sometimes the communication is even more direct: artists like Faber take advantage of the anonymity that the electronic media give to promote their work, showing themselves and their portfolio without risks of being persecuted.
The common graffiti is known to be a 'code': only the members of a community or a neighborhood can understand its intricate strokes and calligraphy, the "wild style", the code of numbers used to represent names and places. However, along with these obscure messages, explicit messages can be found on the street, using clear and well-spaced letters, orienting themselves to protest.
If the media is from the state, the walls are for us!
"Writers" is what graffiti artists call themselves by their use of fast signatures (called tags) and pumped letters (known as bombs). In the case of Ricardo (aka NEARsyx), he is a graffiti writer, and also a blogger for Hemisferio Urbano where he shares events, profiles of other graffiti artists, collects media coverage of the movement, and also summarizes the general feeling of his groups of graffiti and the community.
In 2007, he documented the situation of graffiti in Guatemala and criticized how television coverage does not differentiate between "artistic" and "vandalism" graffiti, the last commonly associated with illegal tags and bombs.
Unfortunately here, and I think that in many other places, graffiti is still quite associated with gangs, a clear example of this is a small documentary that recently made Noti7, a local newscast, where the editing of this was a crucial part to leave everyone quite confused and with the same image that graffiti is gangs. The documentary shows some of those that really are part of the artistic movement, the bad thing is that the images of pieces and interviews with them were mixed with images of gang graffiti, something that left us with a bad taste in the mouth to all those who we are part of the true graff community.
However, both artistic and "non-artistic" graffiti share walls.