back to article Graffiti 'dying out' as kids dump spray cans for Instagram, Twitter etc

Young artists are putting down their spray cans for smartphones, and causing graffiti art to die off as a result. This according to researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, who said that as Instagram and YouTube have become more popular methods to share art, fewer young people are taking to the streets to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Short attention span

    The graffiti I see are usually just people's "tags" repeated endlessly. It is rare to see an attempt at something else - and even then it is often a simplified phallus.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Short attention span

      Not here, we have also lots of art-like graffiti, some of it quite good -- but the best ones tend to be legal (at least AFAICT). It probably helps if you can take more time and don't have to prepared to run away all the time...

      I wish social media somehow killed the idiots that scratch windows in trams and buses though.

    2. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Short attention span

      The graffiti in Weston-super-Mare is of a generally impressive standard, about the only thing that is. Treat yourself to an afternoon out

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Short attention span

      Language mutates. Today, there is a difference between "graffiti" and "tagging". The first is a form of art, the second is vandalism. Many (most?) largish cities (in the US, at least) have legal outlets for folks wishing to indulge in street art. But that takes effort on the part of the artist. I'm quite happy to see most of them take the easy way out and display their "art" online where only their fan will observe it.

    4. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Short attention span

      tags are just from the kids who skipped primary school and didn't learn how to spell their name when they were 5/6 years old. At least they are trying to catch up !!

    5. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Short attention span

      There's some talentless arsehole near me who feels compelled to paint "sony" on every flat surface. I'm told that he thinks it's pronounced 'sonny'.

    6. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: Short attention span

      Come down to "the Smoke" and have a wander around Brick Lane on a sunny Sunday, take in the market with its great food and admire the stunning works of art that are all around the streets of Brick Lane and Hoxton. I often head out once a fortnight and collect snaps of the latest works of art. Some are just absolutely stunning and they're often only on display for a couple of weeks before they're either tagged or someone else paints over them.

      The best one I've ever seen was a memorial to the late, great Terry Pratchett painted just off Brick Lane. It was 7 feet tall by about 35 yards long and it had all the major Discworld characters and themes in it with a huge painting of Pratchetts beaming face right at the end. It took me 15 shots to capture it and them pano-merge the images to capture it properly.

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Short attention span

        "The best one I've ever seen was a memorial to the late, great Terry Pratchett painted just off Brick Lane. "

        Pictures, or it did not happen.

        Please. :)

        1. Tim Hines

          Re: Short attention span

 amongst others.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Short attention span

            Thanks for that link.. just "wow" is about all I can muster at the moment.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Short attention span


            LA I am sure blows us away (more people and less old white people who think art only hangs in a gallery). Even Albuquerque has a pretty impressive graffiti scene.

          3. Jay 2

            Re: Short attention span

            Wow indeed. Now that's "graffiti" I can agree with. Actually a lot of proper graffiti (not that tag everywhere crap) is usually quite artistic and very well done.

    7. Chris King

      Re: Short attention span

      Sometimes, you even get a phallus on "proper" art

      Yes, Dobbin loved his master very much indeed, but he's not so excited now.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      varies by region I suppose

      >It is rare to see an attempt at something else

      Well one edge I guess to living in the southwest US is with our large Hispanic population its not all that hard to find some pretty impressive graffiti murals even these days.

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

    "In this way the rich kids of Instagram have killed the graffiti writer."

    Somehow, I don't think this can be bettered, but if anyone can shoe horn graffiti themed lyrics into this tune, there's no one better than Trevor Horn to do it.

    Video Killed The Radio Star

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

      All you need for instawhatever is a smartphone which can be pretty cheap. Pretty much everyone has one these days, even the "young men of low socio-economic status [who] take risks to achieve sub-cultural kudos".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

      oh-wa oh-wa!

    3. swampdog

      Re: Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

      +1 just for the link/reminder. I'd forgotten how much I listened to that!

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Instagram Killed The Graffiti Star

      Not quite as per your request, but as it's warp factor 10 on my personal scale I thought I'd share this anyway.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One factor is missing...

    ....a lot of places now have legal places to do it, as well as sanctioned buildings. For example we have a few underpasses and bus shelters where the best were given the green light to decorate them.

    Not to everyone taste, but neither is grey concrete.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One factor is missing...

      There's a nice one in my town. What used to be a horrible grey cheaply rendered side of a building that really stood out as awful has ben painted top to bottom in an enormous picture. It looks great.

  4. Korev Silver badge

    There's a nice mural covering the side of a building just outside of Basel railway station greeting people in lots of different languages; it's been ruined up until about head height by crappy graffiti.

  5. DontFeedTheTrolls

    Microsoft had a geo-location camera app a few years ago where you could electronically graffiti somewhere physical, then others with the app could come along and view your work.

    Perhaps all the graphic art is now only visible to those in the know...

  6. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge


    On the A1, just south of Alnwick in Northumberland, there's a village called Shilbottle. Since time immemorial, local kids have been adding a small horizontal bar to the first 'l' on the sign pointing towards it, so that the sign reads "Shitbottle".

    A year or two back the comedian Stuart Lee used this as a barometer of how much timekids were spending on the Internet. In the past, whenever he passed that sign going to/from Edinburgh, he saw the defacement. However, in recent years, the presence of the added mark was less of a given. When you're a teenager with a smartphone, the Internet and a world of online pornography, adding some paint to a sign to make it look a bit rude suddenly doesn't seem so attractive.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Shilbottle

      local kids have been adding a small horizontal bar to the first 'l' on the sign pointing towards it

      Couldn't the village just change the sign to all caps?

  7. Just Enough

    "as the move to social media is largely being carried out by wealthy and middle-class kids who can afford the equipment."

    What equipment? I can't think of much that is significantly more expensive than buying spray paint. The hardware is cheap, the software is cheap and can be pirated if you're an edgy teenager with no cash.

    So what are they on about?

    1. edge_e

      When I was a kid, wealthy and middle class teenagers weren't allowed to hang out on the street so probably didn't get the same opportunity to participate.

      Maybe the internet is capable of bridging the class divide?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A graphics tablet would be pretty important, and decent wacoms still cost a fair bit

    3. Phil.T.Tipp

      The author clearly has no idea about the cost of paint and phat caps either. A proper graf-artist will have a collection of many, many colours and caps - just like a canvas and paper artist does oils and acrylics or watercolours or inks.

  8. Bucky 2

    I know hit is off topic, but I'm kind of impressed by how, in the featured photo, the taggers have left the mural of Ganesha alone.

    I know it's impossible, but it's almost like they have a spark of humanity left.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Or they were mysteriously trampled to death

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Meh, so what

    Most graffiti was 3rd rate at best.

    Just like most pop art.

  10. David Austin

    see this is what happens...

    ...When Sega Skip Jet Set Radio for a Console generation.

  11. DNTP

    I propose that if a kid does one act of illegal graffiti vandalism, and posts it on the internet, and gets a thousand views, then they should be prosecuted for the equivalent of committing a thousand physical acts.

    Yeah I worked for the RIAA as a lobbyist, how did you know?

  12. herman Silver badge

    Idiots and asses write on walls and glasses.

    1. Phil.T.Tipp

      C18th Pub Bog Doggerel proves otherwise


      Places like these

      Were made for the ease

      Of every good-fellow in common,

      But the man who writes

      On the wall as he shites

      Has a pleasure far greater than woman.

      For he's eased in his body

      And pleased in his mind

      When he leaves both a turd

      And some verses behind.

      Anonymous, London, 1721

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