If graffiti is a really popular pastime with lots of artists then the obvious question is why is it so popular? However there is no accounting for popularity as I've already documented on my post about tattoos and is also demonstrated by the footwear known as Crocs. Having said this though, I can't recall knowing anyone (even in my youth) who was big into or even dabbled in graffiti, so I must conclude that graffiti is down largely by a small group. Further evidence of this is the apparent skill with which most graffiti is done.
So, this brings me to the question of why spend so much time on graffiti? Why would this become someone's passion? I suppose it might be fun, but it is such an unfair form of fun and that is what makes it so annoying. Near my house there is a large wall painted white that in recent years has become the canvas for at least one spray painter. The business that owns the wall periodically repaints it white only to have the graffiti return. It must be obvious to the graffiti person or people that this must be annoying to the guy with the can of white paint, yet they persist.
Graffiti on a forlorn, unkept, and under-appreciated surface is one thing, but constantly spoiling someone else's idea of what they want their property to look like is mean, rude and annoying. I don't get it.
At the same time I am a big fan of the scrawlings on bathroom stalls, if they are funny. These provide a service to those of us who like to read while we sit. My favourite of all time is still one of the stalls in the basement of the UVic library that I affectionately knew as the Howie Meeker stall. Someone had drawn a sketch of hockey analyst Howie Meeker and put one of his typical expressions next to it (He can't hit the ocean from a pier) and others had added their favourite Meekerisms on their visits to the stall.
Such gems as: "Can't shoot, can't skate, but he's got a heart as big as the whole outdoors," or "He went around the defence like a hoop around a barrel." The list was about ten long. Apparently the custodians liked it too as it seemed to outlast the other graffiti.