Carron sees some artists moving away from the illegal work. She said some artists have looked for creative ways to express themselves on the right side of the law, whether by seeking property owners’ permission, or by taking commissions. Nickel added that graffiti removal efforts—commonly known as “the buff”—led to the erasure of Chicago’s historic graffiti pieces, but also “forged stronger generations of people who fought a lot harder [and] painted a lot harder.”
For Carron, graffiti exists in an uneasy in-between space. “The law is not catching up with the reality of the art market today,” she said.