Friday, November 15, 2013

And The Naysayer Says...


Taylor, Myra. "Addicted To The Risk, Recognition And Respect That The Graffiti

Lifestyle Provides: Towards An Understanding Of The Reasons For
Graffiti Engagement." International Journal Of Mental Health & Addiction 10.1 (2012): 54-68. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.


Myra Frances Taylor analyzes the motive for adolescents partaking in graffiti and what happens when it becomes a lifestyle. She contests that maturity levels specifically emotions, peer pressure, and instant gratification are what fuels the ignorance of future grief. When people are younger, adrenaline-inducing activities satisfy the necessity for individualism, power and self-sufficiency. Since adults have developed cognitive faculties they can rationalize and don’t feel the need to push the norms because they know that they are susceptible to harm. The consequences become magnified and being different is not as important. (Taylor 55) There are six explanations younger adolescents give for doing graffiti ”alleviation of boredom, emulation of others, the rush derived from committing an illegal act the rush gained from engaging in acts of aggression, the satisfaction derived from retaliation and the reward of non-conforming social identity.” Older adolescents grow to love outsmarting the police. Taylor applies the Gruber and Koszegi model of addiction to the act of graffiti. She explains that the reward of goal fulfillment fuels the urge participate in the activity again. The tolerance to the pleasurable experience also constitutes graffiti as an addiction. When these adolescents become adults they look forward to recognition from others. By viewing this issue as an addiction the consequences presently in place are not efficient. No longer should it be dealt with in the educational and criminal sense it becomes something that can be treated mentally.

My immediate reaction is: What? I support little to no criminal punishment so I have mixed feelings. Do I believe that graffiti artists belong in rehab like dope fiends? No. I don’t agree with the means but I support the end. When someone impulsively does what that love and what makes the world a more colorful place without hurting others? Really? Clearly I need to get over my own biases before beginning my own analysis. Toward the end of this article Myra F. Taylor asserts “This conceptualization of graffiti-writing being an addiction moves the juvenile graffiti proliferation issue beyond the educational and criminal domains into the sphere of adolescents mental health.”(66) I would like to acknowledge this idea as a feasible way of dealing with graffiti but discern whether its something that needs to be dealt with. It is a venue created by the people for the people to bring the issues they want recognized into pop culture.

1 comment:

  1. Late! But a nice post :-)

    It's interesting that the idea of "rehab" for street artists takes the view that there's something wrong with the individual, as opposed to asking, "Why did this person feel that defacing property was the best way to express him or herself?"

    Anyway, how do you see this fitting into your essay?

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