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What is the Difference Between Street Art and Graffiti?

August 29, 20233 min read

What is the Difference Between Street Art and Graffiti?

Graffiti in San Antonio, TX

Graffiti and street art are two forms of visual expression that use the spray can as their main medium and the city walls as their main canvas. However, there are significant differences between these two forms of art. In this article, we will explore the difference between graffiti and street art and by clarifying these features, we hope to inspire you to look at graffiti and street art on the streets of your city with fresh eyes. 

Graffiti

Graffiti is often considered as a form of vandalism and is typically associated with the use of spray paint, markers, or other types of permanent ink to create images or text on public surfaces. Graffiti is often seen as a form of rebellion against authority, and its creators often work under the cover of darkness to avoid getting caught. While some graffiti is simply the tagging of an individual's name or symbol, other forms of graffiti can be elaborate and intricate murals.

Graffiti wall in San Antonio, TX

Street Art

Street art, on the other hand, is a form of visual art that is created in public spaces, often with the intent to beautify and inspire the community. Street art can take many forms, including murals, sculptures, installations, and other types of public art. Street artists typically work during the day and with the permission of property owners or local authorities. Street art is often created with a social or political message, and it can be used to address issues such as poverty, injustice, or inequality.

butterfly mural

Key Differences

One of the most significant differences between graffiti and street art is their intent. Graffiti is often created as a form of self-expression, while street art is created with the intent of beautifying and inspiring the community. Graffiti is often created without permission, while street art is typically created with the consent of property owners or local authorities.

Another key difference is the materials used to create the art. Graffiti is typically created with spray paint, markers, or other types of permanent ink, while street art can be created using a wide range of materials, including paint, chalk, paper, and even yarn.

Finally, the level of skill required to create graffiti and street art is also different. While both require a certain level of artistic skill, graffiti is often simpler in design and execution, while street art can be much more complex and intricate.

In conclusion, while graffiti and street art are often lumped together as the same thing, they are actually two distinct forms of visual expression. Graffiti is often created as a form of rebellion against authority, while street art is created with the intent of beautifying and inspiring the community. Graffiti is often created without permission and with spray paint, while street art is created with permission and can be created using a wide range of materials. Ultimately, the main difference between graffiti and street art is their intent and the level of skill required to create them.


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