Graffiti is all around Brighton, but is it a curse or a blessing? We delve into these arenas of conflict, these wars of the walls

Posted On 09 Jul 2017 at 4:17 pm

Brighton street art of the highest order

The logical place to start, is to define exactly what graffiti is. The answer I found stated that it was writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. However, the whole crux of the matter is the use of the word illicitly, as illicit usually refers to something that is not morally proper or acceptable. So the main question here is actually whether graffiti is or is not morally proper and acceptable.

When does vandalism become graffiti and when does graffiti become street art and when does street art become bona fide (mainstream) serious art?

Beauty and the beast, but which is which?

Historically, man has in fact been leaving his mark on walls for centuries, millennia in fact, like the mammoth illustrations on the walls of caves in France. This was an early form of art and a way of telling future generations what that individual had witnessed and wanted to share with the world. It was arguably their form of immortality.

The graffiti can be religious or even a language like that of the Aboriginal people in Australia and it forms part of the world’s oldest continuous cultural tradition, which is believed to have started 30,000 to 40,000 years ago!

Alien encounter on the streets of Brighton

Over time our civilisations have become more complicated and so indeed has our art and our graffiti. There’s no denying it that in our modern world-of-advertising age, graffiti is shaping us and the world of art. We are subject to it and in turn absorb it into our psyche and thus a seed is sown, often a deep seed deeply embedded and then in some cases it metamorphosizes and raises itself to the surface and behold you suddenly decide to get a specifically designed tattoo. But where did the initial idea come from?

The sadly departed music wall – how many can you name?

There are a myriad of opinions surrounding the subject, as to some graffiti can be barbaric mindless acts of vandalism. To others graffiti can be political, or graffiti can be amusing, or it can be open to interpretation, or it can be challenging art, or in the following example, graffiti can be deeply moving.

During my investigation, I spoke to one chap who was busily creating graffiti in Brighton and he seemed particularly pleased that I was taking an interest in his creation. He uttered that he usually made the creations for himself, but in fact his friend had died and so he was doing today’s work as a homage to him.

Surprisingly this is not taken from the side of a girls handbag

Another chap I encountered red-handed so to speak, had a photo of his pooch on his mobile phone in his left hand and he was endeavouring to copy that onto a billboard with his aerosol paint spray, (held in his right hand) but about 100 times bigger.

One thing is for sure though, graffiti artists often create work to let you know that they were there. Whether it be via an elaborate masterpiece or just by tagging their own chosen artistic name in their chosen style.

Why is he sad? Has he lost his mouse?

The location for the graffiti is usually paramount for effect (juxtaposition and all that) whereas at other times it is solely just being in a place where you won’t get disturbed or caught doing it, but either way, it is a pre-planned military operation. Having said that, these days more and more often graffiti and large murals are done to order and this is a reflection of society moving towards acceptance as a whole. Whereas in other countries, graffiti is sometimes the individuals fight against censorship and the freedom of speech.

Birds eye view of a couple of nice examples

At times during my tour of Brighton’s parodying pop art, I noted that sometimes the forest of sophisticated graffiti was created on every available blank space, whereas other streets walls were totally untouched provocations, as these walls were under total control.

Far more interesting than plain whitewash

I also felt that the walls that were touched by the human hand (via freehand aerosol paint spray can or stencilled) were screaming at me to get noticed with their pseudo 3D movement style imagery, whereas others were more refined and sedate affairs. I considered that I was on a hunt of sorts and that I was endeavouring to get into the mindset of the best places that I would be able to discover witty, exciting and surprising street art, that could possibly change my perspective on the world around me and so enrich my soul.

This one proves a big hit with the ladies

In Brighton the explosion of (sadly limited lifespan) raw energy graffiti by the many and varied voices of unique artists has now become part of the history of visual culture and has added to the mystery and Bohemian attitudes of the City and as a whole it is striving to gain more acceptance throughout society. So in time, the very best pieces of exciting, energising, invigorating street art have literally jumped from the walls and into the expensive art galleries and have sold for massive sums of money, as in the case of the Bristol born Banksy.


Now this is a really cute one

It’s rather amusing that I personally witnessed people reacting to the world around them on my trip. As several times when I photographing the art on the walls, other people (locals and foreign visitors) would stop to see what I was actually taking a photograph of and then they themselves would get out their mobile phones or camera and also take a picture. It’s as though the art for some was all around them, but they were either just blind to it, or too busy to notice, or possibly just needed the confidence to also be able to take a photo in front of everyone.


Charming 3D examples

As I was wandering around on my art tour, it was going through my mind that I actually felt in some way I was literally taking a snapshot of our City at this very moment as in a time capsule and if I hadn’t have bothered to do this, then it would more likely be lost forever because it would either be whitewashed or overpainted.

Here’s looking at you kid

I wish that I had done this for our Brighton record shops in the 1970’s and 1980’s, as I have images of their interiors and exteriors imprinted on my mind, but alas no actual proper records. So I am very pleased to have captured Brighton’s new art!

I did start to catalogue exactly where each piece is located within the town, but hey you guys, you just need to go out into Brighton and have fun exploring for yourselves! Good luck!

Sad girl hiding in a doorway

All photographs were all taken by Nick Linazasoro on 8th July 2017.

For your further enjoyment, we have added 100 Brighton graffiti photos below.  

If you click on each photo it should hopefully enlarge for a more detailed inspection:

  1. Peter M Reply

    Ho hum. Do the artists get out of Brighton much? If they did and went to say Spain or Poland, they might find inspiration. Brighton could do with some political graffiti- the Poles have this down to a fine art. In Spain a lot of the grafitti is curated by museums and is on an art trail. Brighton likes curation -especially the hipsters- so let the artists get a Arts Council Grant or at least some basic training.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for your interest in our article Peter. Seems to be a hot talking point for local residents.

    • Phil Reply

      If LEGIA were a political party 🙂

      • Nick Linazasoro Reply

        Not sure what you mean here? Warszawa?

  2. Joe Stains Reply

    Amazing pieces of art, in my opinion. Huge difference to the ‘graffiti’ in my area; some little toe-rag has scrawled ‘I Love Shagging’ in permanent marker on the wall outside my house…

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Oh how unfortunate Joe. Obviously a sad case of vandalism as opposed to genuine street art.

  3. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    This article works best if you imagine it being read out loud by Brian Sewell.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Oh I say, one would rather prefer Jonathan Meades as he is still with us.

    • Mr R Reply

      Funny, I plumped for Sister Wendy narrating the scenes.

      My very favourite piece of graffiti is opposite a Hove primary school. In simple text a foot high, the legend reads: “If you like school, you’ll love work!”

      Funny and strangely profound also.

      • Nick Linazasoro Reply


  4. Hovelassies Reply

    Some if fabulous. Other graffiti is not. Haddington street Hove is an example of dereliction and ugliness…made worse by grafitti

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      I haven’t witnessed the Haddington Street graffiti first hand myself, but thank you for your interest in our article.

  5. MartinJF Reply

    It’s amazing what we often don’t notice as we go about out daily lives, some of those are absolutely incredible. Great article.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you very much Martin, very kind.

  6. Bev M Reply

    What a refreshing insight to our streets of Brighton, I often admire colourful art a skill I don’t possess! It’s far more uplifting than watching terrible news but on TV!

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you very much for your interest in the article Bev and posting a pleasant comment.

  7. David M Reply

    Didn’t realise Brighton had so much graffiti within it..
    Lots of skill on show there.. as long as its not your home 🙂
    Good work Mr L.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Exactly David. Thank you for your interest in the article.

  8. Norman Reply

    People generally take pride in where they live, unfortunately some do not. Have a nice road and some mindless idiot sprays a senseless tag along this road. Does it improve the roads appearance, sadly not.
    Graffiti art on the right wall in the right place is quite spectacular, unfortunately most tags are unsightly and only appreciated by the nerd who thought it was cool.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      An opinion echoed by a vast majority of Brighton folks no doubt!

  9. Local resident Reply

    Nick, if you are starting a collection of photo’s there is a recent (a month or so ago) addition at the Islingwood Rd end of Hanover Terrace. As far as I know it was put up to try and stopping the regular tagging, and seems to have done the job so far.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thanks for that. I will have a look the next time I am in that area. Thanks for your interest in the article.

  10. Jan Hinchy Reply

    Didn’t realise many of these existed and great qualiy. Will keep a look out for them next time in town. Dedicated research and interesting article.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for the kind comments Jan.

  11. Clinton Adams Reply

    Graffiti is a curse when it appears as meaningless scribble.
    The examples of graffiti we are seeing here clearly are works of art. They blend in or improve their somewhat boring surroundings without wiping out street signs. Some are fascinating, others amusing. It is good that someone has found time to photograph them.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Nicely written sir. Thanks for your interest Clinton.

  12. sharon LINAZASORO Reply

    Interesting article

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thanks a million x

  13. Scott Green Reply

    There is art what your photos show and then there is mindless Graffiti what is just a case of vandalism what I fill needs to be removed you look at the back of London Road there is some lovely art then look at the shop fronts on London road Vandalism what makes the City look run down and dirty

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Yes indeed a very mixed bag! Thanks for your interest.

  14. Jude Reply

    For me the crux of the matter is simple. IF the owner of the property has given permission for this artwork or commissioned it, then that’s ok. If not (as was the case on our new build) then it’s vandalism under the 2971 Criminal Damage Act. How about respecting the owners’ properties? Would people be so thrilled if this was done to, say, their new car without permission? And the smell is suffocating. In the right place and done well and WITH PERMISSION it’s great e.g. the Hobgoblin pub on London Red, Brighton. We don’t need political points or any others on walls….we are surrounded with messages with ads on phones, transport like buses, our phones etc

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you Jude for your interest in our article.

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