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Graffiti Art: A Contemporary Study of Toronto Artists

Tracey E. Bowen
Studies in Art Education
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 22-39
DOI: 10.2307/1320248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1320248
Page Count: 18
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Graffiti Art: A Contemporary Study of Toronto Artists
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Abstract

This study examined graffiti artists in the Greater Toronto Area who had formal art education at either the senior secondary or postsecondary level. Six participants were chosen: one who had specialized senior secondary training, three who had graduated from college art programs, and two who were still completing college-level art programs. The average age of the participants was 24 years. The data were collected through tape-recorded interviews and transcribed verbatim. Participants answered 16 questions and were permitted to discuss issues not addressed in the questions. The study looked at who they are, how they view the graffiti community, how they relate their education to their graffiti work, and whom they perceive their audience to be. It was concluded that the participants were creative individuals who were community minded and concerned about the inherent aesthetics of the city. They were active in creating quality graffiti murals that they believed enhanced derelict areas and back alleys. The results of the study highlighted the need for understanding and acceptance when considering the work of these artists. It also questioned the need to redefine the term graffiti, or at least to extend the definition to include other contexts that may not have been included historically. As well, recommendations were made to revisit teaching practices in the visual arts to include discussions about public audiences and contexts.

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