History of Street Art

Our site features artworks in the urban contemporary genre. The artworks that we add to our site were included in art exhibitions throughout the world. However, the history of urban art actually started with street art. Knowing the basics of how street art started will help to increase your appreciation for urban contemporary art.

It all started with graffiti, which included images, symbols, and lettering that was spray-painted on various structures such as buildings and bridges. This created the big debate about whether the art form went beyond art and was a type of vandalism. The debate still continues.

However, the issue caused a lot of issues for artists. That’s because the activity of spray-painting pictures on various structures was seen by many people as breaking the law. The situation changed into the early 2000s.

By that time street art had started tweaking into urban contemporary art. This was considered as less controversial than street art and more legit. The artworks were created on more traditional media such as canvas and even featured in various art exhibitions around the world. The situation was much easier for artists as it weakened the argument that urban art was controversial because it was often linked to street art and graffiti.

It’s still interesting and important to note the origins of street art. The artwork first appeared on walls and train cars during the 190s and 1930s in New York City. It was actually the work of NYC gangs. The influence of this culture was powerful and continued into the 1980s. The history of the movement is included in the book “The History of American Graffiti” (2011).

These decades had a major influence on the development of street art. Young people were able to use street art to respond to the socio-political environment they were in. This resulted in a new movement that allowed them to express themselves through art.

At first, the street art was just known among youngsters. However, adults soon started noticing the works. It then became a type of artistic expression.  One primary example was the photos of street art captured by photographer Martha Cooper. Within time photos weren’t the only medium used to capture street art. They were also featured in various art exhibits. This allowed art fans a better opportunity to view and purchase street art. This allowed street art to become part of the world of contemporary art.

It’s important to note that street art isn’t just about the history of graffiti. In the 21st century, the art form has become more diverse. That includes the use of stencils as a tool for political activism. Street art’s evolution has become apparent through various artists like Banksky.

These artists have helped to transform the art form. In fact, it’s even been the feature in various videos including documentaries. Street art became a foundation for art experimentation through artists like BLU and Vhils. However, even with these developments, the street art hasn’t lost its rebellious roots. That’s true even though the art has become part of mass media and popular culture.