"I've been given to understand by some graffiti artists in Denver, Santa Cruz, Bay Area, and LA that "tagging" is territorial marking (visual peeing), rather than art.
I know some who will never refer to graffitti as tagging for that very reason. "
Yeah, there is a big difference between a tag and a piece. A tag is just basicly graffiting your name or moniker on a wall. A piece is something that takes time and effort, color and expression. It really isn't territorial unless they try to "claim" that area then I rather see them as a gang.
A real piecer/graffiti artist doesn't care about territory, his side vs that side, no none of that. The problem with a lot of "taggers" now a days is the influence put on to them by that westcoast thug life idolism, so in reality taggers are little kids that have no direction in they're young lives, a piecer/graff artist is a more mature man that has a passion for what hes doing and has a reason and a motive apart from territory or ego's(the I got a bigger dick than you way of thinking)
"I personally think that marking someone else's art without invitation is tagging, regardless of the aesthetic quality of the tag."
I do too, I would never disagree with that, Around here if you we're to write around a legal(permission wall) they will beat on you, they will teach you a lesson for not respecting they're art, and you should do the same if someone disrespects your art as well, or atleast bring it up to they're attention and point out that its disrespectful.
"I have no problem with people creating graffitti on public non-art surfaces (except when it renders a traffic direction sign useless. Causing car wrecks is not art, it's assault)."
I agree with that too, Just as long as it's not ugly, I too hate it when I park and have to walk up close to the sign to try to make out what it says. And some walls are so nice by themseleves they don't deserve to be touched.
For the most part a graffiti Artist will always show the most respect for your work and would NEVER tag on your piece, but a tagger? I don't know what they're motives are exacly
This is a Tag... by some random lame ass tagger.
This is a piece, done by an GraffitiArtist.
This one is Illegal Art done by the same Artist.