What Is Graffiti Art?

graffiti as art

Some of you may walk past the colourfully decorated walls of your city and wonder about the art of graffiti. Whereas some of you may walk past the colourfully decorated walls of your city and may not even view graffiti as art. Something I know for certain is that I could not imagine my city’s walls without their graffiti covered stories. The graffiti which surrounds me is something that has always slowed me down, in a good way. Even if I find myself in a rush, if I see a piece of graffiti art that catches my attention, I will always stop for a moment to appreciate its presence. It is amazing how much power a piece of art on a wall can have on someone’s life. Anyways, I am here today to talk about the world of graffiti and how these eclectic colours spread throughout your city are in fact, art. Today we will cover a variety of subjects surrounding the question, “What is graffiti art?”. Essentially, if you were in search of a ‘graffiti is art article’, you have come to the right place. I am a huge advocate of graffiti and graffiti inspired art pieces, so this will be a hate free zone. Let’s first begin by exploring art graffiti and what it is at its very core.

What Is Graffiti Art?

hiphop graffiti art

So, what kind of art is graffiti? Well, if you are in search of a simple definition, graffiti art can be defined as any addition to the exterior of a building or structure be it writing, drawing or painting. There is a wide variety of art that can be witnessed and experienced within this world of graffiti art. However, answering this question is a lot more complicated than simply searching graffiti art dot com on the internet. There is a bountiful history that goes all the way back to ancient and prehistoric times. Cave drawings can be found today as an example of original graffiti art in which was used as a means of communication. Stories, messages, and lessons were carved into these walls before we had pen and paper, before we had books and information online. The long ago history of what we now often consider ‘city graffiti art’ is really quite rich and meaningful. Following cave drawings, graffiti art made its debut as ‘contemporary graffiti art’ or ‘hiphop graffiti art’ in the 1960s and 70s. Initially, there was a strong presence of this artwork in the Black and Latinx neighborhoods of New York City. These artists were at the time initially referred to as ‘writers’ and ‘taggers’. What these artists were striving for was to be seen. By adding their work to public walls, they had the hopes that as many people as possible would be able to see what they did. Art is all about being shared, and I truly believe graffiti is a beautiful way to make art accessible for all.

Types Of Graffiti Art & Graffiti Art Techniques

graffiti inspired art

How is graffiti art presented to the public? Well, there are various different types of graffiti art which in turn provides a wide array of ways in which the public can receive and perceive these art pieces. Let’s check out how to do graffiti art by first learning the different types which exist.

  • Graffiti- When you initially hear the term ‘graffiti’, it is more likely than not that your mind immediately turns to art on walls which were created by means of spray paint. Your mind is actually drifting in the correct direction. Let me provide you with more context. In the 1960s and 1970s, graffiti art was mostly known for images created with spray paint. The aesthetic that follows spray paint tends to be bold and bright images with thick lines. This is a very popular type of graffiti art, and perhaps the most well known.
  • Stencil- The use of stencils is another type of graffiti. This fashion of creation may seem like easy graffiti art in the moment, however the time and thought that goes into the creations of these stencils is quite extensive. Many artists prefer to use stencils whilst creating their graffiti art because it is a more efficient way to get their art onto the walls before perhaps a run in with the police. Also, the use of stencils allows for more refined details to be present in the given wall art.
  • Wheat Paste Posters- Pasting posters to the sides of buildings is indeed another form of graffiti art. Wheat Paste Posters are more similar to that of the use of a stencil, as a large portion of the creation happens before heading onto the streets. Pasting posters on walls with this flour and water mixture can be done very fast and efficiently to avoid any encounters that would rather be avoided.
  • Sculptural Street Art Interventions- Have you ever wondered how to graffiti art off the walls? Well, sculptural street art inventions is your answer. Art interventions are a way for artists to interrupt the normal flow of life. They are a way to shake people from their daily mundane and repetitive tasks. Artists will sometimes create three dimensional sculptures and place them in places that cannot be avoided.
  • Reverse Graffiti- Reverse Graffiti is perhaps a more temporary type or form of street art. Rather than adding to a building, the artist works with what is already provided to them. For example, a dirty glass wall would be a perfect location for an artist to practice reverse graffiti. With the dirt, they will move it around and remove it in places until they successfully create their desired image. I am all about working with things we already have which is why I can appreciate this type of graffiti art. Though temporary, very worth it while it lasts.
  • Other Media- There are some graffiti artists who turn to the use of other media to assist in creating their pieces. In the past, artists have used ceramic tiles, stickers and other objects to create. This method of graffiti art sometimes adds three dimensionalities to a wall or texture. I love seeing mixed media on a concrete wall, I think it really brings another layer of life to what otherwise would be a flat, two dimensional concrete canvas.

Differences Between Graffiti And Street Art?

what kind of art is graffiti

There are many skewed ideas of the graffiti art meaning. Some see graffiti and view it as vandalism or something that should be removed immediately. We already know my stance on graffiti art, being that it is indeed art, therefore I disagree with this view. When an artist wants to share their voice with the public I feel as if this is something they should have the right to do. So we loosely know what graffiti art is, but what is street art and what makes it different? Well street art is any form of art that can be found on the streets. Street art is usually commissioned by someone, therefore the art is legally resting in its place. This is where it differs from graffiti art. Both graffiti and street art are found in the same places, however street art is not completed in the dark of the night to avoid run-ins with the authorities. It can at times be hard to decipher which is graffiti and which is street art because they are at their cores, quite similar.

Famous Cities With Graffiti Art

how is graffiti art

Graffiti art can be found in so many places around the world, however the presence is more prominent in some cities over others. Here is a list of cities where you will find some of the best graffiti art pieces.

  • New York City
  • London
  • Paris
  • Berlin
  • Barcelona
  • Montreal
  • Miami
  • Toronto
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago

These are only a few of many cities which will provide you with an amazing graffiti art experience. If graffiti art is something you’re into and you ever find yourself in one of these cities, take the time to slow down and embrace all of the art that surrounds you. Don’t be afraid to look down hidden streets, there are sometimes works of art in places that only the curious will ever find.

graffiti art com

Artists Inspired By Graffiti

There are many people who share the same views as I on this subject of graffiti art. So much so, that some artists have drawn inspiration from graffiti art and poured it into their creations. Allow me to share with you five different artists who felt inspired upon seeing the graffiti art in the streets around them.

original graffiti art

Andy Warhol & Basquiat

Basquiat began his career as a graffiti artist whereas Warhol began as a postmodernism artist creating pop art. These two artists decided to collaborate with one another on various pieces of art. Some people even believe that the collaborations with these two produced better work than their solo creations. Now, this is of course all based on opinions, however, two creative minds are often more powerful than one.

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is known for his murals and stencil pieces that rest upon the walls of buildings. Inspired by graffiti art, Shepard brought his art to the walls, creating some very famous pieces of street art.

Keith Haring

Haring, from the very beginning of his art career, had a magnetic pull to the world of graffiti and street art. There was something that Haring loved about art that resided beyond the walls of museums and galleries. With this inspiration, Haring morphed his art into AIDS awareness, sharing important messages through his artwork.

Zvi Belling

Zvi Belling is known as an architect who is well traveled thanks to his extensive studies. Belling’s goal is to fuse street art with modern architecture. Essences of graffiti and street art can be found within the architectural creations of Belling which I find quite fascinating. Drawing inspiration from art that has been placed on the external walls of buildings in order to create new buildings. I believe this is a concept that is not so often practiced.


Herakut is a German based creative duo who together create graffiti inspired art pieces. This dynamic duo is composed of Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehman. They are known for creating paintings which are heavily inspired by graffiti art. It’s nice to see the work that comes when two artists collaborate with one another.

What Do You Think About Graffiti Art?

city graffiti art

Where do you stand when it comes to graffiti art? Are you a strong believer like me? Or do you view graffiti art to be a form of vandalism? This question may not be so easy to answer for everyone. It is indeed quite an interesting question which can bring forth a wide variety of answers. It is hard to say that all graffiti is art. I understand that upon viewing what seems to be a scribble on a wall, you may lean more towards graffiti being vandalism. However, everyone is an artist at heart, and if they feel the need to express themselves through a scribble then I view that as valid. With such a rich history, it is hard for me to not consider graffiti as art. Dating back to prehistoric times, sharing messages through carvings, and now, sharing messages through eclectic colours and objects. Although graffiti art may not be appreciated by all, I will strongly stand my ground when it comes to my opinion on whether or not this form of art is indeed art. I recommend you do some self analyzing. What are your views on graffiti art and why? Are your views easily swayed? There is no wrong answer.

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