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What Defines Street Art ?

June 15, 2023 13 min read

What Defines Street Art ? - The Trendy Art

Key Takeaways:

  • Street art is a form of public art that differs from modern-day graffiti as it is more open and has no rules.
  • Common materials and techniques used in street art include fly-posting, stenciling, stickers, freehand drawing, and projecting videos. Notable street artists include Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Invader.
  • Street artists may work in studios, hold gallery exhibitions, or work in other creative areas. Many well-known artists started their careers in street art, such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger.
  • The evolution of street art has seen an increase in repetition, innovative methods, and political and social messages being conveyed through art. Street art in urban context is based on repetition for impact and key artists, such as Shepard Fairey and Space Invader, have built identity through repeated art pieces in different cities. BLU's video art is an example of street artists exploring innovative and inspirational methods by conveying a story that can be retraced in the urban setting.
  • Street art is created in public spaces, such as buildings, bridges, and highways, with a strong political or social message. It reflects political and social issues and encompasses graffiti art.
  • The history of street art dates back to the 1920s and 1930s when gangs in New York City marked their territories with name-based tags and primitive graffiti. Art murals also emerged in Southern California around the same time. The movement originated in the United States, particularly in New York City and Philadelphia, and has spread around the world. Key artists include Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey.
  • The terms "graffiti" and "street art" are often used interchangeably to describe public art, but there are differences between the two. Graffiti refers to markings, photos, words, initials, or drawings that have been spray-painted, sketched, or scratched onto publicly accessible areas and often created illegally. Street art is a form of public art created in public spaces with the intention of provoking discussion and reaction while challenging societal norms and ultimately enriching public spaces and communities. 

Introduction

Street art has become popular worldwide, as a special kind of art. Although it is popular, many countries view it as illegal because it is usually done without permission from the authorities.

The attraction of street art is its location. It's made in public places, so it's easy to see. Usually, it's found on walls, sidewalks, and other places in the city. It's also known for its use of different materials, like spray paint, stencils, and paste-ups.

A significant part of street art is its message. Artists use it to express their thoughts about social or political issues. It could be a message of peace, love, and unity.

Often, street art is done anonymously, to avoid legal problems. But some street artists have become famous, like Banksy.

The article "What defines street art?" talks about the history and characteristics of street art. Despite its popularity, some countries have been taking it down from public spaces. Even so, street art is still an impactful way of expressing art, enjoyed by many, but with legal challenges.

Defining Street Art

Street art is a form of visual art that is created in public locations and is often commissioned or permitted by property owners. It has gained attention and respect across the world for its innovative and thought-provoking nature. Street art is different from graffiti, which is generally considered to be vandalism and can result in legal consequences. Materials used in creating street art include spray paint, acrylics, and stencils. Notable street artists include Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Invader.

Street art vs modern-day graffiti

To compare Street Art and Graffiti, it is important to differentiate between them. Both use spray paint or markers, yet they have different goals. We can make a table to highlight their differences. In the left column, we can list 'Street Art'. In the center, its features such as political or social messages, meant to be seen and thought about. On the right, 'Graffiti' with features like tagging to mark territory without permission. The acceptance level of Street Art and Graffiti differs. Street Art is becoming more popular as it speaks of societal structures in an intriguing way. Graffiti sadly still has a negative view because it usually marks territory without permission. To create awareness of the negative effects of spray painting buildings without permission, city councils should propose ordinances and designate areas for creative expression. They can also hold educational programs to encourage activists to engage with local leaders to reform policies legally. Using these methods will lead to expressing views legally while making our environments more vivid with artworks commissioned by various communities, working together to curb toxically-marked streetscapes.

Materials and techniques used in street art

Street art is a unique form of visual art that is created in public spaces. It makes use of unconventional materials and techniques such as spray paint, stenciling, wheatpasting, installations, and guerilla gardening.

Stenciling, for example, is done with a combination of spray paint, markers, and cardboard. Wheatpasting involves wheat paste, posters, and newspapers. Murals are painted with a brush or spray can and might require scaffolding. Installations use found objects and sculptures. Guerilla gardening is planting flowers or crops in public spaces to beautify the environment.

By combining these materials and techniques, street artists can create powerful messages. They interact with the urban landscape and seamlessly integrate their pieces into it. Woodcutting images mashed up with street murals, for example, can create compelling art pieces.

Notable street artists have left their mark on the world with their rebellious and thought-provoking pieces. They use the materials and techniques of street art to convey their messages in an impactful way.

Notable street artists

Street art is now famous as a type of public art. Notable artists are well-known for their unique creations. Banksy is one of these artists. He is celebrated for his political and social commentary-filled stenciled works. Shepard Fairey is another. He uses bold graphics and typography to express messages of social justice and cultural dialogue. Invader is also a street artist. He creates pixelated images of characters from classic arcade games.

These artists work with various materials such as aerosol paint, stickers, installations, stencils, and wheatpaste. They use their art to get people thinking about current society's issues. Though they are globally known, they do not stay outside of the traditional art system. Banksy and Shepard Fairey have had their work in galleries and museums worldwide, including the esteemed Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

These renowned street artists have highlighted the artistic merits of this medium. They have also showcased its potential influence on society. From inventive methods to repeated imagery, the development of street art continues to raise political and social messages for everyone to see.

Evolution of Street Art

Street art has indeed undergone a major evolution over the years and has become an integral part of urban landscapes. In this section, we will delve into the Evolution of Street Art through various sub-sections such as:

  1. The prominence of repetition
  2. The employment of innovative methods
  3. The impactful political and social messages conveyed by artists through their art

So, get ready to explore the ever-changing landscape of street art!

Impact of repetition in street art

Repetition has a powerful effect on street art. Repeating specific images and symbols strengthens an artwork's message, revealing hidden meanings. It also amplifies emotional elements. Therefore, repetition is a crucial technique in creating impactful pieces. It allows viewers to immerse themselves and understand the artist's purpose. Thus, it makes the artwork more memorable.

Innovative and inspirational methods

Street art is renowned for its inspiring, imaginative techniques. It uses unusual materials like spray paint and stencils to make images and messages that people can relate to. As time passes, street art has transformed in response to the world around it, tackling topics such as racism and gender inequality. Plus, it displays local historical sights and ethnic heritages that are usually overlooked.

Furthermore, lots of street artists use recycled and eco-friendly materials in their work. This encourages people to reconsider the way they think about regular items and their personal utilization patterns. It also highlights the need for environmentally-friendly activities.

Technology is another way street artists are able to improve their work. Digital media, projections, and augmented reality installations create interactive experiences, which are more than just regular wall paintings. Plus, hidden animations and extra layers of data can be unlocked with mobile devices.

In conclusion, street art is a modern movement that motivates others around the world. It sets fresh standards for cities through its artistry and campaign for environmental protection and other social reforms. It encourages people to take action and make positive alterations in society.

Political and social messages in street art

Street art is no longer just about bright colors and decorations. It's a powerful means of communicating political and social messages in public places. The most effective pieces are those that make an emotional connection with viewers, highlighting current societal issues.

Street art is a way for artists to spread awareness about political and social issues without censorship, control, or limitations. It's seen as genuine and authentic since it speaks for the people, expressing their dissatisfaction with society's norms and values.

Many street artists use their platforms to bring attention to important topics like gender inequality, police brutality, poverty, environmental concerns, and corruption. To get people's attention, they often add humor to their designs. These works may appear simple, but they carry a lot of depth and meaning.

Graffiti is similar to street art, but it usually conveys more individualistic messages. Regardless, both forms are valuable and add character to public spaces.

Differences Between Street Art and Graffiti

Street art and graffiti are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences that set them apart. In this section, we'll explore those differences by examining the motivations and techniques behind each form of public expression.

From marking territories to expressing creativity, street art and graffiti have distinct purposes and meanings.

Public expression without permission

Public expression without permission is illegal. It involves defacing public or private property. But some street artists view their work as activism and social commentary. They use art to challenge norms and provoke thought.

These artists may claim that they have more freedom and authenticity with this approach. They don't have to worry about commercial interests or regulations.

Despite the risks, many street artists keep creating art without permission. They believe it is their way to take back public space and bring attention to social issues.

Public expression without permission is illegal. It is controversial. But for these artists, it is a way to express themselves and be seen. It is a platform to address important issues.

Graffiti for marking territories or specific groups

Graffiti, a form of visual communication, has been used for centuries by different groups. It's often seen as a way to "mark" an area or send a message. It can be linked with gangs and crews to show ownership or even used to threaten rivals.

There are other uses too. Political groups may use it to protest or express their anger at the government. Oppressed communities may use it to make their presence known in public spaces.

It's important to note that graffiti can be used in positive or negative ways. If it's seen as offensive, there can be serious consequences.

The distinction between street art and graffiti can be unclear. It depends on the intention behind the artwork, and how the public perceives it. Regardless, graffiti brings bold statements to blank walls and is a great way to make yourself seen and provoke reactions.

Street art for public visibility and provoking thought

Street art is an awesome way to make people think. It's a form of public art that's on display for all to see. Artists from all over the world use different materials and techniques like stencil printing, wheat-pasting, 3D installations, murals, and more.

It stands out with its originality and creativity. Repetition is often used to make a statement, and to get people's attention. The topics covered in street art range from politics, social issues, and environmental issues.

It's a great way to get conversations going about important topics. Climate change, social justice, corruption, inequality, etc. are all topics that street art speaks to.

If you'd like to experience street art, check out both popular and local artists in your area. Just be sure to be aware of your city's guidelines for permissible areas for creating street art, so you don't get into legal trouble.

Conclusion: Street Art as a Form of Public Art

Street art is a unique and intriguing form of public art. Its roots lie in graffiti and other rebellious expressions. It's created in public spaces such as city streets, buildings, and other surfaces - often without permission. But it has become accepted as a legitimate art form.

Publicity is a defining element of street art. Unlike traditional art, it is accessible to everyone. It isn't restricted to walls or canvas - it's seen in public places.

Street art is also used to send messages. It is a way to comment on social, political, and cultural issues. Artists use their work to express opinions, challenge the status quo, and raise awareness. It can be thought-provoking, inspiring, and even revolutionary.

It is often ephemeral too. It can be quickly removed or painted over. This transience adds to the allure and excitement of street art. The art is constantly changing and evolving, showing our dynamic society.

In summary, street art is a form of art that is accessible, provocative, and ever-changing. It takes art out of galleries and into the public. It has become an important form of expression that allows artists to engage with people in meaningful ways.

 

Some Facts About What Defines Street Art:

  • ✅ Street art is different from modern-day graffiti, as it is more open and has no rules. (Source: Tate)
  • ✅ Common materials and techniques used in street art include fly-posting, stenciling, stickers, freehand drawing, and projecting videos. (Source: Tate)
  • ✅ Street artists may work in studios, hold gallery exhibitions, or work in other creative areas. (Source: Tate)
  • ✅ Many well-known artists started their careers in street art, such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger. (Source: Tate)
  • ✅ Street art in urban context is based on repetition for impact. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ Artists had to reproduce their typography/symbolic expression to be seen. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ Shepard Fairey and Space Invader built their identity through repeated art pieces in different cities. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ Repetition became a (r)evolutionary period for street art with the rise of virtual space. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ Some street artists explore innovative and inspirational methods, such as BLU's video art. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ BLU's videos convey a story that can be retraced in the urban setting. (Source: Widewalls)
  • ✅ Street art is a popular art movement that appears in urban areas and public locations such as buildings, bridges, and highways. (Source: Artland Magazine)
  • ✅ Street art reflects political and social issues and encompasses graffiti art. (Source: Artland Magazine)
  • ✅ The movement originated in the United States, particularly in New York City and Philadelphia, and has spread around the world. (Source: Artland Magazine)
  • ✅ Key artists include Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey. (Source: Artland Magazine)
  • ✅ Public art is becoming increasingly popular, with new murals appearing in cities of all sizes on a regular basis. (Source: Dictionary)
  • ✅ The terms "graffiti" and "street art" are often used interchangeably to describe these installations, but there are differences between the two. (Source: Dictionary)
  • ✅ Graffiti refers to markings, photos, words, initials, or drawings that have been spray-painted, sketched, or scratched onto publicly accessible areas. (Source: Dictionary)
  • ✅ The definition of street art is still evolving, but its beginnings can be traced to tagging in New York in the late 1960s and the graffiti artists of the 1970s and 1980s. (Source: Study)
  • ✅ Fine artists began to use similar methods to react against the decorum of the art world and catch its attention, such as Lee Quinones and Keith Haring in New York City. (Source: Study)
  • ✅ Street art is a form of static visual art displayed in public spaces for public visibility. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ It has evolved from the early forms of graffiti into a more commercial form of art. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ Permission has become an issue with street art, as it can be the product of an agreement or commission. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ Many instances of street art come in the form of guerrilla art, which is intended to make a personal statement about the society that the artist lives within. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ Some artists may use smart vandalism as a way to raise awareness of social and political issues. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ Artists may also appreciate the challenges and risks that are associated with installing illicit artwork in public places. (Source: Wikipedia)

FAQs about What Defines Street Art ?

What is street art and how is it different from graffiti?

Street art is a form of visual art that is displayed in public spaces, such as buildings, bridges, and highways. It reflects political and social issues and encompasses graffiti art. Street art is different from modern-day graffiti, as it is more open and has no rules. Graffiti refers to markings, photos, words, initials, or drawings that have been spray-painted, sketched, or scratched onto publicly accessible areas. Graffiti revolves around tagging subject matter to other individuals marking similar territory or to a specific group of people, while street artists want people to see their work.

What are some common materials and techniques used in street art?

Common materials and techniques used in street art include fly-posting, stenciling, stickers, freehand drawing, and projecting videos. Some street artists explore innovative and inspirational methods, such as BLU's video art. BLU's videos convey a story that can be retraced in the urban setting.

Who are some well-known street artists?

Many well-known artists started their careers in street art, such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey. Shepard Fairey and Space Invader built identity through repeated art pieces in different cities. The key artists of street art include Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey.

What is the history of street art?

The history of street art dates back to the 1920s and 1930s when gangs in New York City marked their territories with name-based tags and primitive graffiti, and art murals also emerged in Southern California around the same time. The movement originated in the United States, particularly in New York City and Philadelphia, and has spread around the world. Street art is now one of the largest art movements and continues to grow.

What is the difference between street art and graffiti in terms of messaging?

Street art intends to provoke discussion and reaction, often reflecting political and social issues, while graffiti artists direct their messages to other individuals marking similar territory or to a specific group of people. Graffiti refers to markings, photos, words, initials, or drawings that have been spray-painted, sketched, or scratched onto publicly accessible areas.

What is guerrilla art in the context of street art?

Guerrilla art is an instance of street art that is intended to make a personal statement about the society that the artist lives within. Some street artists use "smart vandalism" as a way to raise awareness of social and political issues, and they may appreciate the challenges and risks that are associated with installing illicit artwork in public places.


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