Brett Wolff


Graffiti and vandalism are everywhere in the modern city; they seem to be part of the typical urban background. While graffiti are usually associated with concrete walls, bridges and train cars, one particular area of focus of vandalistic writing is the walls and stalls of public bathrooms. This area, for both obvious, and sometimes unclear reasons, is a popular forum for anyone wanting to write. This project was conducted with the intent of better understanding these somewhat ubiquitous and seemingly mundane scribbles. As the first step toward this goal, a literature review of approaches to vandalism was conducted. This theoretical exploration, which comprised the majority of the project, explored vandalism in general, with a particular focus on graffiti. The second step of research was the collection of photographs of bathroom stall graffiti on the campuses of both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. This second step sought to take the general literature on vandalism and graffiti and apply it to the more specific example of bathroom wall graffiti. In concluding, this article proposes alternative approaches to understanding graffiti and vandalism.