An umbrella term covering various art forms, Street Art relates to visual art that is presented in public settings. Often unsanctioned (though increasingly this is changing), Street Art is also referred to as Urban Art or Guerilla Art. Street Art such as Graffiti is typically made and showcased outside of traditional art settings like galleries and museums. Street artists often use their art as a means to communicate with everyday people. Street artists often create works that reflect social or political issues; however, subject matter is incredibly varied and diverse.
Street Art occurs throughout the world. New York City is particularly well-known for its abundance of Street Art; however, urban settings in South America are also becoming increasingly known for their Street Art. Many large cities world-wide may also have thriving Street Art communities. Some Street Artists travel from city to city to ply their art becoming quite celebrated in the process. Some major cities such as Richmond, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia have hosted Street Art festivals.
Street Art became a popular art form during the 1980s; although, it originated as a modern art form in the 1960s. It is interesting to note that Graffiti has existed since ancient times. While Street Art appears to have some rebellious undertones, it is not typically regarded as a form of Anti-Art even though it remains outside the context of fine art or conventional art. Many of today’s Street Artists simply prefer the public setting and enjoy the direct conversation their works pose to people–not simply people who visit art galleries. By presenting work in public settings, artists enjoy considerable exposure to all types of people.
Street artists employ various forms of Street Art. Traditionally, street artists used spray paint to create art such as murals on public walls. However, some artists create homemade stencils to use on public spaces. Others create homemade poster-size stickers to place in public spaces. Mosaic assemblages, video projections, and street installation art are also common forms of Street Art.
While some consider street art to be a crime, others have begun to embrace it as a viable art form. Many cities have set aside areas where street art can be made. In some notable spaces, artists are even invited to create works in public spaces such as New York City’s site known as the Bowery Mural. Early pioneers of modern Street Art include Rene Moncada and Keith Haring. Other notable modern street artists include Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Claudio Ethos.