Graffiti and street art isn't new. Find out about its history in this article.

The story of street art

Modern graffiti began in big cities in the United States in the 1970s. In New York, young people wrote their names, or 'tags', in pen on walls around the city.

One of the first 'taggers' was a teenager called Demetrius. His tag was TAKI 183. He wrote his tag on walls and in stations in New York. Other teenagers saw Demetrius's tag and started writing their tags too. Soon, there were tags on walls, buses and trains all over New York.

Then, some teenagers started writing their tags with aerosol paint. Their tags were bigger and more colourful. Aerosol paint graffiti became very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It appeared on trains, buses and walls around the world.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a lot of graffiti artists started painting pictures. Some artists' pictures were about politics. Other artists wanted to make cities beautiful and painted big, colourful pictures on city walls.

Graffiti in galleries

In some countries, writing or painting on walls is a crime. Sometimes, graffiti artists have problems with the police. In other countries, artists can draw and paint in certain places. For example, in Taiwan, there are 'graffiti zones' where artists can paint on walls. In São Paulo in Brazil, street artists can paint pictures on walls and houses. Their pictures are colourful and beautiful. Some tourists visit São Paulo just to see the street art!

In Bristol in the UK, there is a street art festival in August every year. Artists paint all the buildings in a street. Lots of people come to watch the artists and take photos. You can see exhibitions of street art in some galleries too. There have been exhibitions of street art in galleries in Paris, London and Los Angeles.

Who are the artists?

Some street artists have become famous. Here are three stars of the street art world:

  • Os Gêmeos are twin brothers from São Paulo. They paint big, colourful pictures of people on buildings. In 2007, they painted a castle in Scotland!
  • Blek le Rat is from Paris. He is famous for painting pictures of homeless people in big cities.
  • Faith47 is from Cape Town in South Africa. She paints big, colourful pictures of people and animals. She likes painting in different places and you can find her work on pavements, postboxes, buses and, of course, on walls!

The future of street art

Many street artists use the internet to look at photos of street art from around the world. They communicate with other artists online and share ideas. Some street artists are famous and you can see their pictures in galleries. We don't know about the future of street art, but it is here to stay for sure!

Robin Newton

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What do you think about graffiti? Is it really art?


BrokenAngel873's picture
BrokenAngel873 21 December, 2013 - 09:41

I like graffiti and my favorites are pictures,but there are many signatures in my town which i don't like,they just make everyting looking ugly

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DoctorWho's picture
DoctorWho 9 December, 2013 - 19:32

I truly believe that graffiti are art. Indeed... I don't understand how some randomly drawn stripes are considered an art, but masterpieces like graffiti are considered vandalism. I don't say all graffiti represent art, but graffiti are perfect way to show your emotions and make your town prettier(especially if it's poor town so instead of luxury you can decorate it with creativiity).

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ChristinaMne's picture
ChristinaMne 2 December, 2013 - 20:32

To be honest I like graffiti, and in some way I think it acutally is art. It's very difficult too, so...I respect people who can that

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Rachel_Momo's picture
Rachel_Momo 25 November, 2013 - 18:11

I like Graffiti too, I do it myself too, I can express my emotions really good with it, for example when I am angry about a situation in my life I really can let go that feeling. Banksy is good and I watched the documentary exit through the giftshop, I can recommand it to you.

greetings Rachel_Momo -> Netherlands

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GreenTshirt's picture
GreenTshirt 4 November, 2013 - 15:48

In Madrid,Spain every year there is a festival called "aquí huele a pintura" in english "here smells like paint". I love graffiti;)

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Anastasija6's picture
Anastasija6 1 November, 2013 - 17:11

I adore graffiti. I think It is a true art. But I don't like when some people use It for hate messages.
I wish that I could have my graffiti zone :D

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Jelenaa2's picture
Jelenaa2 21 October, 2013 - 15:02

I personally like graffiti. I think it's a great way of expressing your creativity and also a wonderful way to make your city/town prettier :)

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ivonayoo's picture
ivonayoo 16 October, 2013 - 19:52

Well,art is one of the ways to express yourself and I think graffiti is a kind of the art, becouse it's a great way to express your feelings, and your point of view of this world and be funny at the same time. I don't have a bad opinion about grafitti only if the writtenigs are propriate.

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NarethTan's picture
NarethTan 16 October, 2013 - 03:16

Now i know the Graffiti Arts On The Wall is Great and The Best Graffiti Arts On The Wall is painting picture of people. There Artists are Awesome for me.

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Anna_Drew's picture
Anna_Drew 6 October, 2013 - 12:14

I love Graffiti! In July I went to Bristol for two weeks in a collage. We saw Banksy's Griffiti and were amazing. In my hometown in Italy we have a lot of Graffiti and i take a lot of photo near Graffiti beacuse are AMAZING. My favourite one in a Mario bros huge Graffiti!

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