Free Consultation! Call: (609) 261-3400 | Email: | Emergencies: Click Here

Visual Vandalism; Can You See The Writing On The Wall?

Visual Vandalism; Can You See The Writing On The Wall?

Tasteful spray paint art is a sight to behold. In the skillful hands of visionaries who see entire cities as canvases, simple spray cans can breathe life and color into barren buildings, creating unlikely masterpieces out of brick and mortar. Sadly, there is a darker, criminal side to this unique, transformational form of art. When uncommissioned and unpermitted, a work of art on the wrong canvas is a criminal act; no matter how pleasing to the eye, it is simply illegal. If you’re wondering where to draw the line between lawful self expression and illicit graffiti, join Catanzaro Law as we consider the controversy of visual vandalism.

The Problem With Graffiti

The Oxford American Dictionary defines graffiti as “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.” The illegality of graffiti is inherent in its name; this separates it from identical artistic expressions scrawled, drawn or painted in a legal place – say, on your own house or garage. One of the principal problems with graffiti is its subversive spirit. Where similar styles of art are created legally to convey inspiration and stir feeling, graffiti is used as an act of illegal rebellion to undermine allegedly corrupt systems and constricting social conventions.

Power To The People; Two Approaches

Herein lies the very essence of graffiti’s popularity; the power to synthesize avoided ideas and project them, unavoidably, before the public eye. But when it comes to giving power to the people and voice to the voiceless, is vandalism the only approach? Surely not. There are countless examples of constructive, legal creative expression, sometimes on the very same buildings marred by graffiti’s destructive touch. Marvelous murals, painted with permission, are equally capable of producing powerful emotion and ushering in necessary social change. 

Visual Vandalism; Are You In Trouble?

Statistics indicate that the average age of graffiti vandals arrested is 17-18, suggesting a serious problem amongst juveniles. Though punishment for graffiti and other forms of vandalism may be comparatively lenient, repercussions can certainly reverberate throughout the future. If you or a loved one have been arrested for graffiti or other forms of vandalism, a good defense attorney can help mitigate your mistakes. Mark Catanzaro has extensive experience in juvenile defense, and is willing to work with you! 

Artistic skill is a tremendous thing, but all artists interested in the brick and mortar medium have a choice to make; will you work constructively and considerately in accordance with the law, or dabble with the destructive nature of visual vandalism? If you choose the latter, the writing is on the wall.


Leave a Comment

Request Free Case Evaluation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Office Locations

Mount Holly:

21 Grant St.
Mt. Holly, New Jersey


143 White Horse Avenue
Trenton, New Jersey