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The reputation of graffiti art is not what it used to be. Once viewed as a nuisance and a sign of crime and social degeneracy, more and more cities are taking a new approach by putting up welcome areas for street art, or commissioning artists who are proficient with spray paint to decorate old buildings with murals. Of course, graffiti varies heavily in terms of complexity and mass appeal, and many argue that by arbitrarily picking what kind of street art is socially acceptable and should be encouraged by the law is simply creating a sanitized version of the traditional form of expression, as even the simplest scrawls have a purpose of expressing an opinion, frustration, or simply affirmation that one exists and wants to be heard.

Most of the graffiti in this post falls into the latter category, but with one common feature: the writer put it there just to make the next person laugh, smile, or think with their funny messages.

Scrawls on public bathroom walls are a bit different and fall into a category of their own, a phenomenon that has been the subject of entire academic studies. Officially called “latrinalia,” writing on bathroom walls is something that psychologists have suggested we do because of the potential to express things that may be inappropriate without being suspected, as it’s being done behind closed doors in a space where people usually keep to themselves.

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Such bathroom art is almost like posting on online forums. And much like the modern anonymous comments section, the content often tends toward crude and inflammatory, but this list shows that there are some well-wishers who want to brighten their captive audience’s day with cute messages.

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#6

Polite-Graffiti

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John
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4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Gay" crossed out underneath. Because everyone knows living your mom is so gay.

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Some people have even used the stereotypical kind of vandalism that city councils hate for material good. Last year saw an epidemic of Brits forcing their local authorities to prioritize road repairs by painting every uninventive tagger's favorite body part over the offending potholes.

In 2015, one anonymous chaotic good character became infamous for the practice in Manchester, calling himself Wanksy, and apparently the approach that he pioneered has been repeated with success elsewhere. Locals can complain about this method all they want, but they can’t say it doesn't get the job done.

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#15

Polite-Graffiti

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#18

Polite-Graffiti

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Charlotte
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4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's the accurate use of spelling and grammar by two strangers that's moving me the most!

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#21

Polite-Graffiti

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Rickie Cole
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4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

was literally there for years until it was recently painted over by a graffiti artist called Helch - I miss Peas

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#29

Polite-Graffiti

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#30

Polite-Graffiti

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Note: this post originally had 75 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.