Art or Crime?


Hense @Piedmont Park


Hense @Piedmont Park

Graffiti: Atlanta’s modern and most unique art. It encompasses the city’s inner walls and captures all wandering eyes that pass. Mine in particular because no matter where I’m headed, I always stop to take a quick photo. Each story is different. Everyone who stops to stare has the ability to create their own meaning of the art that is drawn across the building or walls. Is that what the artist wants us to do?

Hense is a local street artist in Atlanta. I’m sure you have seen his art and not known it was his because that is exactly what I did. I am an active Piedmont Park visitor; taking my dog to release energy numerous times each week. One particular large piece of art catches my eye and each time I take a different picture. Something new to be seen I had not noticed before. I always think how an old, beaten bridge could be turned into something this beautiful? It’s thrilling that someone could design something so extrinsic.


Graffiti is an art form and those who choose to create a masterpiece with proper consent should be able to do so. It is a way to bring color into a once dead and gloomy community. Abandoned buildings are brought to life. A CNN reporter who wrote a piece on a local Atlanta artists known as PLF made the statement of graffiti being spontaneous, public, and fleeting. It is truly inspiring. 


However, in Los Angeles, graffiti symbolizes crime, damage, and gangs marking their turf. Thousands of dollars has been given to task forces around the nation to crack down on graffiti artists. Even so in Atlanta, whose task force was funded $10,000 to keep the city clean and identify unwanted graffiti artists. But, who decides what is unwanted? Even at the park earlier today, I noticed others stop to stare at Hense’s mural. Residents admire the art, not just at the park but all over Atlanta. Letting talented artists use the city as their canvas can help to inspire those passing by.  Art? Vandalism? Crime? The decision is yours. 

Hense is not the only street artist making his mark across Atlanta. There are thousands of artists within the city just as talented and eager to tell their own story.

 Corey Barksdale

 Peter Ferrari



~ by laurenjmsw on February 3, 2013.

5 Responses to “Art or Crime?”

  1. I was excited to see your blog. I know Hense and he is an amazing artist. I have seen his work all over Atlanta and also been to his real art shows where he displays his wide array of talent. I am a big fan of graffiti down south but up North where I am from, it’s mostly gang related extremely damaging to a city. Great post.

    • Wow! I read about all of the shows he puts on but have not gotten the chance to go see one. I will definitely need to arrange that. Thanks for clearing it up. I think gangs are more prevalent up North and out West, but it’s really come along as a true art form down here. I absolutely love it!

  2. Lauren, thanks for sharing. I, too, love graffiti. One of my secret dreams is to be a graffiti artist, like painting whole walls, all for a good cause. I actually kind of like the fact that graffiti is considered to be a crime. It means a lot more than when artists seek creative, covert ways to express themselves, especially in times of war or distress.

    I’ve always wondered who the graffiti artists were in Atlanta, and now I know a couple of them, thanks to your post. You’re probably familiar with the link, but you should check out some international graffiti… it’s simply phenomenal…

  3. Lauren,

    Great job here. You have used the visual to tell the story and integrated the content issues that are so important as well. You showed us the positive and negative perspective on graffiti and why this isn’t just a matter of street art. I live in SE Atlanta and there are several areas where we have graffiti we would call street art and several places where folks use some other terms. Your question of who decides what is art is a good one. The other thing that intrigues me is how a city manages this with such diverse views. Very interesting…

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