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Goldmine graffiti

Welcome back to The Transatlantic Classroom!!! 

I hope you had a great winter break and are ready for a new round of our transatlantic exchange. 

How about graffiti?!? Is it ART or VANDALISM? 

The German daily "Die WELT" had this to say: They come out at night. They wear sneakers and backpacks equipped with spray cans. They are looking for a thrill: sprayers. The world came crashing down for the mother of a 17-year-old who had been caught redhanded. When the police searched the house they found dozens of spray cans, much to the mother's dismay. She equates spraying with vandalism ("Sauerei") and impudence ("Unverschaemtheit") and thinks that a light punishment wouldn't hurt. The plaintiff, one of whose trucks had been sprayed on, is of the same opinion. Instead of 30 hours of community service, raking leaves or working in his warehouse, the owner demanded the sprayer finish his work. "I hired him like I would a designer. He committed himself to spray-paint the 9x15 foot tarp of my truck. Before he starts, though, he will have to show me a few drafts." 

Do you think this "punishment" fit the crime?? Where do you draw the line between art and vandalism? What do you think about graffiti and graffiti "artists?" 

Hope to hear from many of you soon. 

Kerstin Otto 

From: Wisconsin 

We think this punishment for graffiti is not enough. We think they should serve jail time at least up to a week and pay a fine for their damage and even more. We think anyone who graffitis on someone eles property is dumb because thats what they make drawing paper for to draw on. 

Why don't they do their own houses instead of other peoples private and public property.Its because they wounldnt like it and their parents wouldnt like it.So why do it on someone else?s property. We think everything is vandalism because even if its good artwork its not their property to write on. We think that graffiti and graffiti artist are criminals.We think they should start using paper instead of walls or ask permission of the owners. 

We would like you to write back in German,because our teacher would like us to translate it. 

Dawn and Peggy 

From: Ohio 

How about graffiti?!? Is it ART or VANDALISM? 

I think it can be both. Some of the places where I have lived, particularly where I grew up, there are some graffiti that is really neat artwork, in fact, one of my friends did things like that, he was good at it too. He was an excellent artist. There is a bridge not too far away from my apartment now where there is a lot of graffiti, it's really excellent artwork. 

On the other hand, when it is just crude phrases just written like you would write on an assignment, that's when I think it is vandalsim, when it is just there, nothing artistic about it, just something that any idiot could have done. It's a fine line, but there is a line between art and vandalism where graffiti is concerned. 

As for the stated case, there was something like that near where I grew up. Some people started to graffiti an old store front, and were caught in the act. However, instead of getting any real significant punishment, there were told to paint a mural on the store front, which they did, and it is an excellent work of art, it took a lot of talent to do. 

where is the fine line between art and vandalism, well, I guess that is up to the individual. 

Sean, Columbus, Ohio USA 

From: Hamburg, Germany 

Lieber Sean 

Ich komme aus Hamburg und Hamburg liegt in Deutschland .Ich wollte etwas ueber Graffitis sagen, weil mein grosser Bruder auch ein Sprayer ist . Damit ihr es nicht falsch versteht, mein Bruder tut es erlaubt z.b .in unserem Park ist ein kleiner Kindergarten dort darf mein Bruder sprayen . Aber es gibt auch Leute , die einfach auf fremde Grundstuecke gehen und die Waende anschmieren und wer darf es weg machen?natuerlich die Besitzer. Und diese gewissen takes sind doch nur Krikelei und ich finde, dass, wenn sie es wieder wegmachen muessen, eine gute Strafe ist, denn von den Eltern werden sie ja auch noch eine Strafe bekommen, oder? Ausserdem finde ich, dass gewisse Graffitis eine Kunst sind. 

Tschüß, Jenny 

From: Hamburg, Germany 


We would like to talk about Graffiti. We read your letters and we think that people who besmeare the walls should be punished. We think that in the city there should be some walls which are free for paintings.But people who just write their taks everywhere should be punished, by cleaning the walls. And they should omit to besmeare the walls because they do not understand anything about art. 

best wishes to all artists all over the world. 

The two girls from Hamburg (carolin & guelsen) 

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