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In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a motorcyclist passes the work 'Access Control' by Greek street artist iNO, on central Pireos Street in Athens. Greece has attracted international street artists to its capital, due to the availability of commissioned work and relatively lax anti-graffiti law.
ATHENS, Greece—Ancient Greeks chiseled their messages, often rude or boastful, into marble. They would probably be amazed how the illicit art form has evolved in the country's capital centuries later.

Graffiti covers entire buildings, trains, and is disrespectfully scrawled on the statues of respected ancestors. The vandals are often graduates of Greece's fine arts schools, who have sometimes spun their street art into commissions.

Loudly expressing opinions is a national pastime that has only grown more raucous during the social upheaval caused by Greece's deep financial crisis. Vacant storefronts, acres of shutters reinforced against rioters are the canvases that have helped attract artists from Greece and abroad to spray their thoughts in Athens.

In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a homeless man sleeps next to work by 30-year-old Greek street artist Sonke in central Athens. The graphic
In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a homeless man sleeps next to work by 30-year-old Greek street artist Sonke in central Athens. The graphic arts graduate works as an art teacher in Athens and has street art ion Athens, Paris and Berlin. ((AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) )

Mindless tagging this is not: Violent confrontations with police, stateless children of immigrants, and the rise of a political party whose leaders were inspired by Nazi Germany are among the issues turned into art.

In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a woman waits at a busstop beside the work ’Access Control’ by Greek street artist iNO, on
In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a woman waits at a busstop beside the work 'Access Control' by Greek street artist iNO, on central Pireos Street in Athens. Greece has attracted international street artists to its capital, due to the availability of commissioned work and relatively lax anti-graffiti law. ((AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) )

In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a woman walks past the work ’capture’ by Indonesian-born street artist WD, in the Exarchia area
In this photo taken on Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, a woman walks past the work 'capture' by Indonesian-born street artist WD, in the Exarchia area of central Athens. Greece has attracted international street artists to its capital, due to the availability of commissioned work and relatively lax anti-graffiti law. ((AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis))

In this photo taken on Monday Feb. 24, 2014,  the work ’Moment’ by Greek street artist SMTS is seen surrounded by graffiti tags  in the
In this photo taken on Monday Feb. 24, 2014, the work 'Moment' by Greek street artist SMTS is seen surrounded by graffiti tags in the Exarchia are of central Athens. The area, known for its compelling street art, is the frequent site of anti-police and anti-government protests and home to a large anarchist community. ((AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) )

In this photo taken on Wednesday March 12, 2014, pedestrians walk past work by Greek street artist iNO, at an exhibition space created out of an old
In this photo taken on Wednesday March 12, 2014, pedestrians walk past work by Greek street artist iNO, at an exhibition space created out of an old gasworks on central Pireos Street in Athens. Greece has attracted international street artists to its capital, due to the availability of commissioned work and relatively lax anti-graffiti law. ((AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis) )