Aesthetics of graffiti: Comparison to text-based and pictorial artforms

Chamberlain, Rebecca; Mullin, Caitlin; Berio, Daniel; Leymarie, Frederic Fol and Wagemans, Johan. 2022. Aesthetics of graffiti: Comparison to text-based and pictorial artforms. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 40(1), pp. 21-36. ISSN 0276-2374 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Graffiti art is a controversial art form, and as such there has been little empirical work assessing its aesthetic value. A recent study examined image statistical properties of text-based artwork and revealed that images of text contain less global structure relative to fine detail compared to artworks. However, previous research did not include graffiti tags or murals, which reside in the space between text and visual art (Melmer et al., 2013). The current study investigated the image statistical properties and attractiveness of graffiti relative to other text-based and pictorial art forms, focusing additionally on the role of expertise. A series of images (N=140; graffiti, text and paintings) were presented to a group of observers with varying degrees of art interest and expertise (N=169). Findings revealed that image statistics predicted attractiveness ratings to images, and that biases against graffiti art are less salient in an expert sample.

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Graffiti, image statistics, expertise, visual aesthetics, calligraphy

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14 May 2020Accepted
24 September 2020Published Online
January 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

21 May 2020 09:51

Last Modified:

22 Nov 2021 13:52

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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