Is it Street Art or Graffiti?

As I have changed my idea, I have some pictures from Ireland that relates to this project. I haven’t taken a lot but it gives me an idea what sort of work I will be doing for my next shoot. The question that I will try to unwind is ‘Is graffiti a form of Street Art?’.

When I search into google images Street Art and Graffiti, this is what comes up –

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Graffiti Search

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 Street Art Search

In my opinion, street art has a different meaning to graffiti, but they are the same thing.

I wikipedia search what is the definition of Graffiti was and this is what it told me,

“Graffiti is or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire. In modern times, paint (particularly spray paint) and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner’s consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime. Graffiti may also express underlying social and political messages a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles. Within hip hop culture, graffiti has evolved alongside hip hop music, b-boying, and other elements. Unrelated to hip-hop graffiti,[citation needed] gangs use their own form of graffiti to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities. Controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials, law enforcement, and writers who wish to display and appreciate work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing art form whose value is highly contested and reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.”

What is interesting with this statement is that it indicates that graffiti can be a form of vandalism as it is painted in public places not owned by the artist. Graffiti may be a form of a voice to express social and political messages. Gangs use graffiti to mark territory, which relates to the theme of ownership and property. It also suggests that Graffiti is increasingly viewed as an art form. There are many cases where there are several code words within graffiti that I don’t understand and what they stand for. Is this a form of a subculture wanting to voice something which they can’t to a higher authority. What do they mean? Is it a name, a gang symbol, a group? For example, they are shown in some of the pictures I took from Ireland. Therefore, I know that this issue is international.

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I then searched into google what the meaning of Street art was, and this is what it told me –

Street art is visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues. The term gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations. Stencil graffiti, wheatpasted poster art or sticker art, and street installation or sculpture are common forms of modern street art. Video projection, yarn bombing and Lock On sculpture became popularized at the turn of the 21st century. The terms “urban art”, “guerrilla art”, “post-graffiti” and “neo-graffiti” are also sometimes used when referring to artwork created in these contexts.Traditional spray-painted graffiti artwork itself is often included in this category, excluding territorial graffiti or pure vandalism. Artists who choose the streets as their gallery are often doing so from a preference to communicate directly with the public at large, free from perceived confines of the formal art world. Street artists sometimes present socially relevant content infused with esthetic value, to attract attention to a cause or as a form of “art provocation”.Street artists often travel between countries to spread their designs. Some artists have gained cult-followings, media and art world attention, and have gone on to work commercially in the styles which made their work known on the streets.

This statement is very similar to the definition of graffiti. It opens with the explanation of what street art is. It is known as visual art created in public locations. As it is not in the traditional gallery, it is known as street art because it in shown in public places. It also refers to the word graffiti art.  It also indicates that street art is a form of vandalism. What is interesting is that they refer vandalism and graffiti being the same thing, which some artists may disagree with. Artists who decide to show they paintings on the streets are doing it in their own preference. As they wish not to do so in a formal manner. I like this concept as not many people wish to go to a gallery. Some people may have never been to a gallery before in their lifetime. So showing an artists work on the streets is an excellent way to communicate directly to the public. These are just some of the images I took from Ireland that fall under the category of street art.

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In photography there is a distinct different between amateur and professional. Is it appropriate for me to suggest that graffiti is just amateur and street art are done by professional artists? This is something I wish to continue researching.