Street art – style of contemporary fine art

Street art (eng. Street art, or street art) is a style and variety of contemporary fine art, in which the space of cities surrounding people serves as a background for placing the works of artists. Many works of street art have a pronounced social orientation and are of a protest nature. Representatives of this art create street masterpieces not only for self-expression, but also to draw public attention to important everyday problems. Street art. Banksy.

Street art is a multifaceted art, which is characterized by a huge variety of genres and ideas. There are no clear rules and norms in it, but there is an attractive feeling of freedom of creativity. Street art is always open to a huge number of ordinary people, and not hidden in the depths of the halls of museums, exhibitions and galleries.

Types of street art Street art combines many different types, among which the most famous people are:

Inscriptions.

Usually they contain a stylized signature of the artist, the name (nickname) of the team of authors or words (phrases) that are capacious in meaning. They differ in font type, number of colors, readability and other parameters.
Drawings. In many cases, they are used together with inscriptions to enhance the impact on the viewer. Along with simple monochrome images, colorful multi-colored compositions with a carefully thought-out plot are often found on the streets.

Stencils.

Ideal for multiple copies of images or inscriptions. They are widely used for protest purposes by radical people and activists of political parties.

Murals.

They are huge artistic compositions on various topics. They serve as an original means of decorating unsightly surfaces of the overall walls of buildings and fences. The authorities of many modern cities welcome the creation of colorful murals and even hold competitions among artists for their production.

Stickers.

Found on the streets in the form of small stickers. In the minds of many people, they are associated with outdoor advertising, so they are often negatively perceived by city dwellers.

Posters or placards.

Strongly inferior in popularity in comparison with other types of street art. Usually used during actions to draw public attention to a specific problem.

Installations.

They have a characteristic feature – the volume of images. They may differ significantly in the materials used, shape, size and placement. Every year, 3D installations with visual effects are gaining more and more popularity.

Street art works can also be divided according to their social orientation into the following varieties:

  • protest or rebellious;
  • promoting the ideas of a certain subculture (punks, skinheads, football fans, rappers);
  • artistic (to decorate the surrounding urban space).

Street art is traditionally seen by its followers as an alternative to commercial art and annoying outdoor advertising. But street art has not only a positive, but also a negative side. Individual artists, when creating their works, commit acts of outright vandalism in relation to municipal and private property.

The history of street art

The history of street art dates back to ancient times. Unknown street artists have long been decorating the walls of houses and fences with drawings or inscriptions in all corners of the Earth. But this kind of art was usually under strict prohibition of the authorities, and its followers were severely punished for breaking the law.
The homeland of modern street art is considered to be the United States. Here, in Philadelphia, in the late 60s of the last century, a young man named Darryl McCrae (nicknamed Cornbread) fell hopelessly in love with a girl. Wanting to impress his chosen one, he painted all the surrounding areas of the city with a simple inscription “Cornbread Loves Cynthia”. His work was not liked by the local authorities, as a result, the young artist even went to jail for a short time.
McCrae’s idea was quickly picked up by the Philadelphia youth. By that time, the industrial production of paint in aerosol cans had long been established in the United States. Soon the streets of the city were filled with inscriptions and drawings for every taste.
From Philadelphia, street art, or rather, one of its manifestations, graffiti quickly reached New York. For several years, the teenagers of this metropolis competed among themselves in artistic talent. Tagging was especially popular during this period – the art of applying an author’s signature on the walls indicating one’s nickname and the number of the quarter.
But already in the early 1970s. new types of street art began to appear and numerous other styles began to take shape:

  • Throw up;
  • block buster;
  • wildstyle;
  • Stencil;
  • Tags;
  • sticker.

Gradually, graffiti became a real disaster for all major US metropolitan areas. Artists not only painted the walls of houses, but also painted subway cars beyond recognition. The situation became unmanageable and caused a sharp negative reaction from the majority of residents.


In the early 1980s, the American authorities found a competent solution to the problem – street art was officially recognized as a new art form. In the salons began to massively hold exhibitions of works by artists, and specialized platforms for creativity appeared on the streets of cities. At the same time, the fight against the uncontrolled painting of urban areas intensified, and numerous public organizations opposed to street vandalism were created.
In Western Europe, the situation developed according to a similar scenario, but with a slight delay, and with the collapse of the USSR, street art also reached Eastern Europe. Currently, in all civilized countries, the authorities in every possible way encourage artistic street art and wage a merciless fight against vandals.
These days, beautifully designed street art in many cities, especially murals, attract millions of tourists every year. Thanks to outstanding artwork, the depressed areas and outskirts of European and American metropolitan areas are gradually becoming bright and attractive for people to live.