The Line Between Street Art & Graffiti

Given the fluid definition of art, I’ve often struggled to exactly picture the difference between street art and graffiti. With large scale murals works drawing on the influence of graffiti and incorporating various handtypes, I sought to get a student perspective on what lines they draw between graffiti and street art.

I personally differentiate between the two conceptions based on how they’re applicable to society as well as how the piece takes its form in terms of aesthetics, however scale and detail have their role to play. It appears I’m not alone on this train of thought as those interviewed came back to the meaning and purpose of the pieces as the defining factor of whether a piece is either street art or graffiti.

It is without a doubt that street art is often viewed in a better light than that of graffiti, with tags, signs and throw-ups being described as ‘unnecessarily ugly’.

Yet, who is to say that a tag isn’t art if we call typography a form of art?

As a millennial, I don’t feel the need to draw lines between what is and isn’t art for we are very much in a post-truth era with regard to expression – images, words, paintings and so much more mean different things and invoke different truths in different people.

I don’t dispute there being different types and techniques related to graffiti and street art and labelling becomes important from that perspective.Β  My concern is rather the social consensus and opinion of these art forms.

Why elevate one voice above another when the subordinated voice hasn’t had the opportunity to be heard?Β 

A label shouldn’t have the power to do that.



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