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In modern times, graffiti has come to be regarded as a rapidly evolving, stylized form of social expression, where spray paint and marker pens have replaced sharp objects, chalk, and coal. Moreover, while ancient graffiti displayed phrases of love, poetic declarations, public rhetoric, and simple thoughts, today’s messages are about social and political ideals.

Most countries consider the marking or painting of property without permission as the crime of vandalism. Still, graffiti artists, particularly those marginalized with no access to mainstream media, resist this viewpoint and display their art or political views in public locations. For example, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960—1988), who lived in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, started out as a street graffiti artist chased by authorities. Later one of his paintings sold for over 10 million dollars.

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