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Graffiti

  • By: Sheri R. Klein
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Graffiti and graffito are from the Italian word graffiato meaning “scratched.” The word originates from the Greek γράφειν—graphein —meaning “to write.” The act of writing and drawing on walls goes back to ancient Greek, Roman, and prehistoric times. Contemporary graffiti is most often found within desolate urban spaces: rooftops, overpasses, industrial concrete walls, highway signs, railroad cars, and subway cars. The contemporary graffiti movement is associated with rap and hip-hop culture and music as well as anti-consumerist and anti-corporate ideologies. Graffiti art is often associated with street art where artists use public wall spaces as their canvas for writing and drawing; however, street art tends to include a variety of styles and more completed works of art.

Engraving of the graffito “Kilroy” on the World War ...

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