What counts as art?

Please try and stay with me, because I have a feeling this might turn in to multiple posts. As I am sure most of you have heard, Banksy has been putting together a bit of an "exhibit" in NYC, completing 1 instillation each day around the city. He has hit up multiple burroughs, and those who have been trying to track him have been unsuccessful up to this point.

Today, he setup a stall on the street and paid an elderly gentleman to peddle his wares. He had a sign that stated "spray art $60" and 2-3 dozen original works. If you are not familiar with Banksy, he uses graffiti to express political views, has directed films, and has remained in relative secrecy for many, many years. You can think of him as a British Ai Weiwei. Most people passed on the stall, with a few picking up the canvasses valued somewhere between $25-40,000 a piece. Pretty solid investment, but I digress. 

This brings me to my point. What is art? Is graffiti art? It would stand to reason that the very highly paid, and hopefully highly educated, art appraisers seem to think so. And yet, this Summer, Broad Ripple was littered with graffiti that cost tens of thousands of dollars to remove. This wasn't considered art. The individuals who created it weren't lauded as visionaries. They were pursued as criminals. They made no political stand. They simply tagged their name/handle or the name of their crew on random post boxes and Monon directional signs. I think there are very few that would regard this as art. So that leads to my follow up question?

What drives someone to abandon the area of their craft that heaps praise, fame, and occasionally cash, and drives them to behave criminally? I just don't understand it.  

I mentioned earlier that this would most likely drag into multiple posts, and I plan on following this up with an article about Mosaic City. They are doing incredibly things for artists and they deserve our support. Until then...