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Rock Street, San Francisco

On the walls of urban areas and buildings, a breathtaking mural may be visible to the public. Many passing by may take out their phones and snap a picture while others will stare in awe at this piece of art. This type of artwork is known to the world as street art. Street art can be in the form of stencil, wheat-pasting, murals, yarn bombing, video projection, sticker art and more. The earliest forms of street art started appearing as graffiti in the 1920s and 30s on the sides of trains and cars in New York. Gangs and teens had started vandalizing the city. In the 1970s and 80s, young people started their own movement, graffiti being a way to revolt, because of the socio political environment they lived in. Photographers, such as Martha Cooper, have documented the early street art and artists that were a part of this. Soon enough, graffiti had caught the attention of others and had transformed into a true artistic expression. This illegal activity evolved into multiple forms of artistic expression and eventually led towards being in galleries and the global market. From a form of vandalism to a form of art, street art made it to the contemporary art world. A frequent question people ask is, “What’s the difference between street art and graffiti”. The main difference between 21st century street art and plain old graffiti is that graffiti is meant for other gangs to decipher and appreciate while street art, on the other hand, is meant for the public eye to interpret and understand the deep message behind the artwork. Both activities are illegal and considered vandalism, unless allowed by property owners. Some street artists work just like normal artists do, except that they have their work shown to the public, instead of in galleries, and their masterpieces in some cases take up an entire wall of a building.Street artists, such as Banksy, has transformed many views of this art through his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. Other artists caught on to this type of art and started creating marvelous murals and incorporating video into their work. Today, forms of street art, visible on city sidewalks, walls, and buildings, captivate people on a daily basis. Street art continues to influence other forms of art and gives life and uniqueness to many cities. Anyone around can create street art to send positive messages and inspire others.

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