Sucks to be a graffiti artist these days. (Not really, it's AWESOME.) On the one hand, you have the art world fawning over you more than ever, and you're in all types of museum shows and you have contracts to design sneakers and corporate America is absolutely dying to harvest a little bit of your coolness. On the other hand, you're in jail.
Jeffrey Deitch's museum exhibit of graffiti and street art right now at LA's MOCA is the highest-profile art world hit for vandals since the last Banksy exhibit, and it gives everyone a chance to wring their hands anew over the "art or crime?" issue. Can't it just be both?
"These vandals don't have any respect for property," [former Highway Patrol officer and anti-graffiti specialist Randy] Campbell says. He added that [incarcerated graf writer Revok's] work "was half-way decent. It was big puffy letters, multiple colors, nice shadowing."
There's no way to make graffiti legal. But it is clearly cool. To get the glory, you have to take the risk. The constant battle with law enforcement keeps everything in balance. Every culture must have its counterculture. It's all very Hegelian.
Let's just maintain the status quo. Seems to be working fine.