graffiti art…is it art, or graffiti?


05/03/2011 by Sarah Ritchie


Grafitti art, Poynton Terrace, Auckland (photo: Dub dot dash)

Oh dear. Our new Super City has some super-sized explaining to do. Here is an article from the NZ Herald, which was sourced from the Dub dot dash blog site. The incident highlights the much-thrashed debate on whether graffiti art is a valid form of art…and, if so, where is it “allowed” to be seen? I am just glad someone took photos of this mural before its demise!


This mural (pictured) by artist Elliot O’Donnell (aka Askew) and others has been in the making for about 10 years. The artists have permission from the owner and tenants of the building, on Poynton Tce, off Pitt St [Auckland, New Zealand] – who have contributed financially to it. But last week the mural was painted over by the Auckland Council without permission of the owners, some say in an effort to clean up for the Rugby World Cup. According to blogger Peter McLennan the workers painting over it thought there had been a mistake so double-checked before starting the job. The council’s own website even says: “If the graffiti appears to be an artwork, ie, permission was given for the work to be done, it will not be removed.” Who’s next for a tidy-up, Super City?


4 thoughts on “graffiti art…is it art, or graffiti?

  1. leonabriggs says:

    That is most definitely art! Wow! And to think most graffiti artists use spray paint—it’s hard to believe they can get such detail!

  2. Sarah Ritchie says:

    I remember making spray-painted signs back in my younger days…and my index finger got SO sore from having to hold down the nozzle (even for a short time). Either graffiti artists have super-strong fingers, or they have another technique that I don’t know about!!!

  3. Octave says:

    Graffiti is art, and i need it. I can’t stand a city with just grey walls or buildings. It’s essential, and it’s a great trigger for creativity. True art and brilliance!
    I love it!

    • Sarah says:

      You are so right about the “city with just grey walls or buildings”. What I also love is when street artists are brought in to temporarily beautify walls along major construction sites. Someone, somewhere must have known that the art would reduce the negativity toward the ugliness of the building period. We have one particular example of this in Auckland, New Zealand. Funny thing is that the construction halted due to lack of funds, and now the “temporary” artwork has become almost a permanent fixture! Bonus!

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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
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© Sarah Ritchie 2014

Please do not use copies of my original artwork for profit, however you are welcome to share my artwork images as much as you like!

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