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Cultural Influence of Prison Art

American Prison art is the most influential genre of Underground contemporary art. It spawned the Graffiti movement in the United States, which in turn spawned a legal form of graffiti known as Street art.

Oftentimes, people wonder what is the difference between Graffiti and Street art. The difference lies in the permission to deface someone’s property. Getting permission from property owners to deface or change the content, context, and general aesthetics of a wall, cannot be considered graffiti, because graffiti is a crime.

In the city of Los Angeles, which fought graffiti in its city and lost, created city ordinance §22.119. Original Art Murals on Private Property. If a property owner gives an artist permission to deface their property, then the artist can register their work with the City of Los Angeles under the “Original Art Murals on Private Property” ordinance. Under the ordinance’s Covenant, this prevents a change of property ownership from taking down the artist’s work.

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