Graffiti as Aesthetic Journalism

Art comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, and forms. From film, to dance, print, architecture and paint, these all constitute unique forms of artistic and aesthetic expression in society. Many art forms are often created with the intent of reaching beyond sole aesthetic, and act in order to communicate a viewpoint by investigating social, cultural and political circumstances.  This is what Alfredo Cramerotti (2009) refers to as ‘aesthetic journalism’, the intertwining between journalism and art forms. Just as journalism uses mainstream media to present audiences with global issues, artists can do so too by demonstrating their artistic expression in the public arena.

Street art, or graffiti, can be a recognised form of art, and there is one artist well known for creating infamous guerilla street art in urban landscapes around the globe. He goes by the name of ‘Banksy’, yet his true identity is unknown. It remains withheld, likely due to the fact that the nature of his artwork constitutes vandalism, a criminal offence in most countries.

With cans of spray paint as his weapon of choice, he creates highly visible art on buildings in global cities and does so as a form of social commentary. Banksy’s works are instantly recognisable and have the ability to refresh monotonous news issues. This illustrates aesthetic journalism at its finest.

A-new-Banksy-piece-near-t-001

The anonymous street artist prides his instalments on evoking thought in the eye of the beholder, ultimately leaving the audience to create their own interpretations (Northover 2010). This what Cramerotti (2011) acknowledges as aesthetic journalism’s powerful ability to ‘inform without informing’.

It is this powerful blending of art and journalism that not only results in an evolving media landscape, but also one that contributes to a society encouraged to think critically and engage in conversation about the political, social and cultural agendas that they are surrounded with.

References:

Cramerotti, A 2009, Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect Ltd, Bristol.

Northover, ‘Banksy’s First Australian Interview’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May, viewed 10 April 2014.