New York is a popular place for artists, especially in the city. It is not only professional artists with studios and exhibits who are recognized – graffiti artists have gathered a large following in recent years, some of them obtaining celebrity status. In fact, many tourists look for signature graffiti pieces by famous graffiti artists in large cities across the country.
However, graffiti is still considered a crime in New York and most places in the U.S. In New York State, making graffiti on public or private property without proper permission is a class A misdemeanor. It is also a misdemeanor for possessing graffiti instruments, reports YPDCrime.com. These might include such items as spray paint cans, brushes, paints, stencils and climbing equipment to enable a graffiti artist to reach inaccessible places. While these implements may not be considered illegal on their own to possess, law enforcement may have probable cause to believe a person has the intent or has used them for graffiti.
Some communities have embraced graffiti as a unique art form, according to The Guardian. In many areas, there are designated graffiti walls where anyone can leave their mark, and some property owners have allowed artists to paint on their buildings or walls to brighten up an otherwise dull space. However, it is important for those with an affinity for creating public artwork to understand where it is and is not allowed, as well as the possible consequences they face for making illegal graffiti. Graffiti is a common tool for gang members to mark their territory, and many consider graffiti to be an eyesore, so this form of art has only become partially embraced.