Street Art

Art & Photo Prints Street Art

Street art


Street art is a modern graphic art trend whose differential characteristic lies in a prominent urbanistic feature.


Street art is in close connection with graffiti (or in other words spray art) but one who thinks both street art and graffiti are the same things is mistaken. Street art also includes posters (non-commercial ones), stencils, various sculpture exhibitions and other things. Street art provides any nuance, nicety, shade, color and line to be made perfectly. As a rule a painter creates his own stylized logotype – a kind of symbol depicting it all over the city landscape areas. The main thing relating to street art lies not in selecting the best place for doing this but to involve a spectator in dialog and show him/her a set of diverse graffiti images.

By 2010 there are no any museum departments all over the world which would store street art exhibitions for collecting.

History of Street Art


Historical background


The Decree № 1 called “Art democratization” (i.e. graffiti and square painting)” having been published in 1918 by Russian futurists says the following:

Comrades and citizens we, the Russian futurism leaders of revolutionary youth art declare the following:

1.      Since now after czarist regime destruction there’s no place anymore for art to be exhibited in box rooms that is everything that relates to palaces, galleries, saloons, libraries, theaters.

2.      In behalf of everyone’s equality towards culture let the art masterpieces be placed on apartment blocks intersections, fences, roofs, our city streets, settlements, and car rear windshields, carriages, tramcars and on each citizen’ dresses.

3.      Let the art paintings (and its colors) be full of semi-precious rainbow embellishing streets and squares including houses, delighting the eye of a passer-by.

Both painters and writers have to take pots with paints and begin immediately illuminating with the help of their own paint-brushes, decorating with images all over the cities, including railroad stations, and running railway carriages.

Henceforth any citizen crossing a street will enjoy by the great contemporaries’ depth of thought every minute, scrutinizing the colorific brightness of nice joy today listening to the melodies, rumble, noise coming from excellent compositors everywhere.

Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk, A Kamensky (“The futurists’ newspaper”. – March 15, 1918)


The legend says that graffiti dates from 1942 during the WWII when a working man Kilroy left the description ‘Kilroy was here’ on each box with bombs manufactured on Detroit plant. The European soldiers reproduced this written phrase from the walls which has been kept during the bombardment. Later the same descriptions have appeared in Philadelphia by Cornbred between the 1950-1960s of the 20th century. The city has undergone the flash of graffiti thanks to such painters as Cornbred, Cool Erl and Top Cat. They three decide to create graffiti in the true sense of it giving rise to the trend.


At the end of the 1960s the trend transited from Philadelphia to New York. From the very beginning the events take place in Washington Heights quarter, Manhattan. Starting from 1971 the “tag” spreads everywhere appearing on the subway wagons walls. This is Julio 204 who first places his street number near to his pseudonym. But the first writer-painter recognized out of his own quarter was Taki 183. He leaves the traces of his presence in many city places making people keep him in mind and provoking a wave of imitations among lots of writers-painters.

At the same time a new form of graffiti started emerging. The year of 1972 celebrates the new aesthetic language birth. As the real war rises between writer-painters seeking for fame through their pseudonyms some of them start making use of unexpected stylistic aspects/nuances all of them to be different. As a result both the ground for style and graffiti code were born since then and are used till today.


Fast and developing growth of the street-art movement sparks certain interest from the culture viewpoint starting with critics and ending with galleries. This is why the number of exhibitions at the beginning of the 1980s was impressive and young writers gained acceptance as painters in the full sense of this word. In 1981 a prestigious magazine called Art Forum dedicated an article in the context of Fashion Moda phenomenon. The same year is prominent by writers’ participation in PSI New York/New Wave exhibition together with other painters among which were Jean-Michael Basquiat as well as Joseph Kosuth, William Burroughs, Nan Goldin, Andy Warhol and Lawrence Weiner. In 1982 Fashion Moda is placed for Dokumenta 7 art exhibition in Kassel city, Germany. First writers gained their obvious bewildering success due to their exhibitions stored in many European museums alongside the exhibitions of best galleries of New-York city.

At the same time as graffiti was recognized from artistic point of view this art goes through severe sanctions so those who are engaged in it are forced to develop the movement out of subways and streets. The pressure also results from substantial and even fatal effect concerning artistic development of many writers. But a great number of them cannot put up with it and there are those who were in searching for new development paths so it became possible due to various ramifications. Since that moment the graffiti movement was reborn and went on developing.


The most prominent representative of street art in 1990s from France was the painter Space Invader. He was engaged in mosaic compositions creation in form of alien figures taken from arcade video game called Space Invaders and glued them in public places all over the world.


The last decade is marked by street art diverse directions. Young writers who are fond of older generations’ masterpieces recognize the importance of working out their own style. This is why new ramifications are emerged, enriching the future developing of the movement. New multiple street art forms take the total precedence over everything created before.


Stencil is a tool used for various surfaces decorating with identical images in large quantities or sometimes for gaining a special artistic effect. This term also denotes an image, created with the help of this tool. The tool represents a small sheet of transmission film or more often cartridge paper in which several segments should be cut out, so the segments create the source image.

The general conclusion

Indeed, street art movement a part of which is graffiti has become quite popular in the last several decades. It is determined by numerous exhibitions and festivals wherein street artists and writers take part in different countries around the globe. All of them present their own works on canvases or decorating the surfaces of large sizes with an image. Such entertainments cannot but gather lots of people there who come to watch it with great pleasure for several hours or even more. 1980s are famous for such graffiti artists as Dondi and Lee whose pictures didn’t only inspire wonder but also were sold to the collectors being a lucky earn.

What about spray paint it fits any surface be it wood, plastic, metal, cement or any other. Besides the fact that it is quite cheap it has many advantages both for professional street art painters and newcomers. Firstly the process of painting with it is simple so it reduces labor effort and at the same time the speed of handling is high. As you make use of spray can you don’t need to clean out your instruments. Thus many persons wishing to start their career in this domain are willing to purchase namely such paint as shaking can for 30 seconds contributes to mixing the paint with the help of small ball inside.

So, nowadays street art painters are very demanded among galleries. Perhaps the prices for their graffiti paintings are not so high but as for collectors they are very interested in them. This is yet another fact of graffiti popularity among the young. So from the one hand the role of galleries is financial one as well: they sell the street art painters and graffiti writers’ works making pretty sums of money. But from the other hand galleries give great opportunities to the painters to become famous and provide themselves by their excellent creations for commercial purposes.