This I believe in Graffiti as Beauty
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As I trudge across the lonesome landscape of diminutive trees and insignificant brush sprinkled sparsely across the monotonous rolling hills, a spectacular urban jungle of gloomy shading and neon highlights slowly entangles itself around my mind to create what I believe: that graffiti is beauty. That landscape of shit was a result of my own actions. The relationship with my parents was trashed and thrown down an alley to try and forget about: all my doing. I did the minimum to get by and always pushed their boundaries. They didn’t believe I had the willpower to succeed at school. One day, my parents gave me the choice to either find that willpower in Utah at a Wilderness survival camp, or live on my own, financially independent. I chose wilderness survival. Like cargo, I was shipped out to the desert and dropped off along that lonesome landscape. Colorless sand and lost sandstone rocks were scattered across this barren place; that was all the company. But I managed to turn this dull environment into that urban jungle where my imagination could thrive.

My notebook and my colored pencils were my most prized possessions. When I first received them, I had an assignment to define myself. I drew my name, hundreds of times. I drew it with different fills, different styles, different fonts, and different colors. My notepad became my black book of what defined me, which was my assignment after all. I started applying my artistic talent for the first time in my life. Art class was cool, but other kinds of art are socially accepted everywhere. Graffiti is shunned against, looked down upon. Taking something with this kind of prejudice and transforming it to something beautiful is a powerful feeling. My black book contrasted against the unadorned and dreary colors of the landscape pleased me while sitting down on a Styrofoam pad gazing at my surroundings: nothingness. I would hold my drawings up against the below average scenery in front of me and smile because of the vivid colors. As that urban jungle continued to entangle itself within my mind, the feelings of monotony and depression began to lift. They were replaced with feelings of confidence and peacefulness. I felt a sense of maturity, like something had changed me for the better.

Graffiti is beauty because it is expression of creativity, a gift from the mind. It starts out as a blank piece of paper and my mind changes that space into a work of innovation and fine art. I found graffiti in the desert of Utah. Graffiti was there to be something visually pleasing in an environment of emptiness, to help me get by. It reminds me of who I am and the moral values I represent. It gives me the challenge of overcoming the negative prejudices of graffiti. Seeing my name written in a hundred different styles and colors fills my mind with purpose and confidence to succeed. This is why I believe graffiti is beauty.

-Taylor