And just like any other art...some are just crap..ramblings on someone else's walls...but others are real art...I know a group that does graffiti...They used to do their works at night to avoid police..but later on they were told to just ask permission from the government..and now, they just have to get a permit of some sort and they can paint on public walls...That's better...
If you spray "Fag" or some pen0r on a wall I wouldn't call it art.
If you really do create a piece of art on a dull and boring gray wall, and people want you to do it - it's ok!
As some people know, I live in a shit hole. I live in a trailer park that has an at least two arrests a week. I've got countless stories of shootings, massive police raids, and countless acts of destruction of property. Hell, my dad left the our van unlocked for 10 minutes while he went inside and we didn't have a radio anymore.
In this neighborhood that I live in, our trailers often get tagged by some gang with a name along the lines of "SSK". Not sure exactly what it means, nor do I really care. Once I even had to clean it off the side of my trailer.
I have a friend of mine that I've known since middle school. I've always thought of him as a simple but intelligent guy. He is a very artistic person. When I go downtown, I get to see many of his pieces of art on overpasses and in tunnels. Really great pieces that are lovely to look at.
Whether or not graffiti is art or vandalism depends on the intent behind the act. The spraying of "SSK" on my trailer was intended to warn others not to go near or they would be hurt. The painting of two people hugging under a bridge downtown was intended to relay a message and inspire feelings within those who look at it. Intent classifies many things in life. Killing is only murder if the intent is malicious.
When I took AP Lang in High School, we would have debates every Wednesday. One day the debate was this exact topic. My friend, the artist, spoke very adamantly that on balance, Graffiti is more art than vandalism. I would have to say that it's too subjective to classify it one or the other. There's artistic Graffiti and graffiti Vandalism. They're not mutually exclusive.
Signature and Avatar courtesy of ImotoChan