Some say graffiti is a way to express yourself in a creative way, and the same could be said for any art form. Not only has street art taken over cities, it has become a moving art museum. Graffiti have slowly transformed into a new cultural movement in urban cities, street art. More people are coming to the understanding that graffiti isn’t just tagging your name on walls anymore, it’s about opening up the audience’s eyes to new forms of art and connecting the city to its people.

            Graffiti has been around for decades. Allowing artists to show their city what they can do. “”Graffiti is an affirmation of the individual,” said Sara Cochran, curator of modern and contemporary at Phoenix Art Museum. “The idea of graffiti has a lot to do with raw energy and authenticity.”” (Jareen Imam). Graffiti artists want to make an impact in the world or at least where they live. Most of the artists aren’t trying to vandalize property, they’re trying to start a movement with their art. “What started as a subculture on the streets of New York in the 1970s has gained popularity in the decades since. Graffiti, often used synonymously with street art, has become aesthetically trendy in many places across America.” (Jareen Imam). Not only is graffiti making an impact. It’s becoming a worldwide trend for young artists. What many non-graffiti artists don’t realize, is that the people who make that art won’t be able to go and see it for forever. Both nature and the city try to destroy the street art. “Imagine an intentionally anonymous art practice, most of whose works are destroyed by nature and, often intentionally, by humankind. This anonymity and ephemerality hinders construction of a master narrative.” (Nicolas Riggle). Street artists don’t make art for themselves. They make it for an audience knowing all too well that not all will appreciate the art. Yet admirers see their art as an always moving art museum. “We have entered the post-historical art world, in large part, by allowing everyday objects and events to enter the museum, gallery, and art-critical conversation. Another possibility, another response to modernism, is to do just the reverse: weave art into everyday life. But how would that work? How could there be an art practice that requires, in a manner of speaking, taking art out of the museum, gallery, and private collection-ultimately, out of the art world- and putting it into the fractured stream of everyday life?” (Nicolas Riggle)

            Street art has expanded all over the world making it into its own genre of art. Not only is it one of the most popular forms of art, it also has been able to branch out into making graffiti books and documentaries. “There are few artistic genres that have experienced as feverish and exponential a rise as street art has in recent years. Once‐rebels such as Banksy are now publishing coffee table books and setting sales records at Sotheby’s, while Brazilian duo Os Gemeos have progressed from ducking prosecution in their native São Paulo to undertaking mammoth commissions from London’s Tate Modern.” (William Gibson). Street art has surpassed the stereotypes and has become a new and more interesting art form. “following Guy Debord’s statement that ‘what changes our way of seeing the streets is more important than what changes our way of seeing painting’, it is vital that contemporary urbanism itself pay attention to the energy and innovation that can be found in the streets today. Just as online and media culture is being transformed by remix culture and open source approaches, the same thing is happening between the individual and the physical city, and is being led by the latest wave of directly sited urban art. We should be paying attention to this as an equally transformative movement.” (Scott Burnham).

            Street art is a very important piece in the puzzle when it comes to a city and bringing people together. “Street art, c. 2010, is a paradigm of hybridity in global visual culture, a post-postmodern genre being defined more by real-time practice than by any sense of unified theory, movement, or message. Many artists associated with the “urban art movement” don’t consider themselves “street” or “graffiti” artists, but as artists who consider the city their necessary working environment. It’s a form at on local and global, post-photogenic, post-internet, and post-medium, intentionally ethereal but now documented almost obsessively with digital photography for the Web, constantly appropriating and remixing imagery, styles, and techniques from all possible sources. Its community of practice with its own learned codes, rules, hierarchies of prestige, and earns of communication. Street art began as an underground, anarchic, in-your-face appropriation of public visual surfaces, and has now become a major part of visual space in many cities and a recognized art movement crossing over into the museum and gallery system.” (Martin Irvine).

            Graffiti has many names but it has proudly got its new name, street art. Some art pieces are actually shown in art museums, there are also thousands of books on graffiti and how their art impacted cites and the world too. This art form has brought together the city and its people in to one harmonized society. “But alongside unauthorized and highly ephemeral street art — a world that now includes not only paint and wheat-paste paper pieces but also materials from knitted-yarn to tile to Lego parts to hacked digitized road signs — the city now boasts more or less officially enshrined works scattered throughout the boroughs. There are commissioned murals, memorial murals, city-supported painting projects, ambitious pieces that serve as signs for stores and restaurants, and hundreds of so-called permission walls, in which more free-form work goes up with few objections.” (Randy Kennedy). This form of art deserves to be recognized by many and appreciated by all. Even right now, there’s probably hundreds of artists creating their art in cities for all too see, so they can be heard and their creative minds can be shown to everyone.


Annotated Bibliography


Burnham, Scott. “The call and response of street art and the city.” City 14.1-2 (2010): 137-153. Web. 22              February 2017

This academic article goes into depth on how street art has made an uprising in recent years. I have used this article to show how society has recently accepted graffiti as a new art form.

Imam, Jareen. “From graffiti to galleries: Street vs. public art.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.

This CNN article explains how street art and public art are very similar. The publisher talks about how popular street is and has now made its own books.

Irvine, Martin. “The work on the street: Street art and visual culture.” The handbook of visual culture (2012): 235-278. Book. 22 February 2017

This academic books explains how art and culture go hand in hand when it comes to society. It explains how street art is a way of bringing people together and making into a constant moving art museum.

The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. Kennedy, Randy. “A Feast of Street Art, Luminous and Legal.” The New York Times.

This New York Times article shows different forms of street art and how they have impacted the people around them. It also talks about the reactions the art has gotten from viewers and how street art is becoming a social movement.

Riggle, Nicholas Alden. “Street art: The transfiguration of the commonplaces.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68.3 (2010): 243-257. Web. 22 February 2017

   This academic journal article talks about how street art became popular throughout urban cities. The article also talks about the hard work the artists went through to have their masterpieces be seen.