Illegal writing and drawing on public property has taken place for a long time. However, the type of colorful graffiti that is common today started around the 1970s.
Examples of early forms of graffiti in America were the writings of hobos on boxcars during the Depression and the gang symbols on buildings in California and the Southwest during the 1920s and 1930s.
The contemporary graffiti movement is believed to have been started by a high school student nicknamed "Cornbread." In 1967, he tagged city walls to catch a girl's attention. Other teenagers in the 1970s were drawn to the graffiti movement because of its defiance of rules, its originality and the chance to make their names seen. These young participants helped to shape the art form and increase its popularity.