Basquiat & Haring
- THere are TONS of artists, painters and even a few designers who incorporate or have incorporated graffiti aesthetic into their work.
Jean Michael Basquiat and Keith Haring are probably the most famous (they were actually friends early on in their careers). Keith Haring actually WAS a graffiti artist using his iconic cartoony POP drawings to speak about social issues like drug abuse, aids and homosexuality.
Many of Keith Haring's pieces were spray painted on public surfaces, often without permission. There's a wonderful mural sized piece bought by the Haggarty Museum of Art of Marquette University in Milwaukee WI... Its several of his "baby" characters spray painted on a wooden board that was clearly part of a construction site.
I agree that its SUPER important to address the issue of graffiti, moral implications, property (in this case the school's property) and legal issues of tagging.
I also think its very important to look at a subject from multiple angles. Graffiti is a language just like Minimalist art or- for a specific audience. It has varying functions depending on the culture.
I myself LOVE Basquiat's work... when I taught middle school, we did a "moveable mural" project after studying a bit of Basquiat, and each student created their own "symbols" or words and layered them into a large unstretched canvas piece reflecting his style, as well as their own. We wore protective masks and sprayed spray paint (outside) onto canvas in the school parking lot. Then we took it back into the art room and layered it up with acrylic, and paint markers, sharpies and colored chalk. It had the aesthetic of grafitti art, and of Basquiat's painting style, but it was also personal to each of my students.