Street Art A Brief History
Important Vocabulary • Street Art: Paintings, drawings, sculptures, stickers, posters, etc. in publicplaces • Graffiti: pictures and/or letters painted, drawn, written, or scratchedonsomeoneelse’sproperty • Vandalism: destructionofpropertywithoutgettingpermission from theowner (can be graffiti). This is a crime. • Vandal: onewhocommitsthecrimeofvandalism • Tag: a graffiti ”signature”—usuallythenameofthe artist usingsecretcodes • Tagger: a person wholeaves his/her signature in publicplaces
1900s Political messages, especially during World War 1 and 2 Gangs also marked their territory
1970s • Spread to New York • Competition to ”tag” the most subway cars and to paint the biggest piece • Tagging becomes more complex.
1980sStart of strict laws against graffiti • No sale of spray-paint to kids • Fences and guards around buildings and junk yards • Quick to paint over graffiti • Fines/jail-time
Today • Usually found in areas of conflict and big cities
Arguments for • Always been a part of our culture • Free speech/expression • Can teach people important messages or tell interesting stories • Looks better than old, blank walls • Some pictures are great works of art! • Gives some kids something to do
Arguments against • Makes neighborhoods look bad • Encourages gang activity and crime • Paintings are done late at night and often with stolen paint • Ruins buildings • Costs lots of money and time to clean off • The public doesn’t get to ”choose” the art • Messages can be racist, rude, or untrue