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

Total votes: 386
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Discussion

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

Comments

Acelorus's picture
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Acelorus 24 March, 2014 - 12:56

I think graffiti is a way to express yourself. Graffiti I think is the most beautiful art.

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dzeni's picture
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dzeni 15 March, 2014 - 13:30

I really like graffiti, they are great and they often make some part of town more pretty. Unluckily in my town there are also stupid and shameful graffiti.
I think it`s art because if it isn`t art, what is it?

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Lucia.M's picture
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Lucia.M 5 February, 2014 - 14:28

Also in my school ( an artistic school) there is a day when the students can draw graffiti on panels.

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Lucia.M's picture
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Lucia.M 5 February, 2014 - 14:25

I like graffiti. I think they are a nice form to visual art, they give color to the city, but the artists must not draw on the monuments. It is better have "graffiti zone".

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BrokenAngel873's picture
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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
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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
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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
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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 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
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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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