Graffiti & Street Art

The definition of Graffiti Art or Street Art includes writings or drawings scribbled, scratched, sprayed, stenciled, or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. Graffiti Art ranges from simple written words to elaborate original wall paintings and art murals, and Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.

There are various forms of Graffiti. One of the simplest forms is that of individual markings such as slogans, slurs, or political statements, and this Graffiti is usually handwritten. Another simple form is that of the "tag" which is a fancy, scribble–like writing of one's name or nick–name.
In the most recent decades Graffiti has evolved from simple "Tags" and messages to an internationally recognized urban art style and genre of art. Modern Graffiti Art´s origins started in the New York City Subways in the mid to late 1970´s. Train painting was instrumental to the development of Graffiti Art because the trains became the stage for the style wars between graffiti artists. The ability to produce complicated art pieces is what separates the tagger from the graffiti artist. Despite New York City's vigorous anti– graffiti efforts the urban art style flourished and soon influenced artists in cities all over the world. Graffiti Art is often seen as having become intertwined with hip hop culture and a myriad of international styles derive from New York City Subway Graffiti.

The styles that emerged during this time included round popcorn or bubble letters, wildstyle which is an intricate, interlocking type of calligraphy that is difficult and almost impossible to read, computer and gothic lettering, 3–D lettering, fading which blends colors, and the use of cartoon characters. Using paint, particularly spray paint, marker pens, and stencils to create their unique street art style, Graffiti Art ascended from a street level expression to a recognized art movement in Art Galleries across the globe.

In the 1980´s Graffiti Art began to transition from an underground "Street" art style, to a popular artistic genre. Artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring developed, largely with the help of mentor and Pop Artist Icon Andy Warhol, into internationally acclaimed artists. Keith Haring, whose origins had begun literally underground in the New York Subway System, became one of the world´s most praised Pop Artists, and in 1986, Keith Haring opened his "Pop Shop", a retail store in Soho selling T–shirts, toys, posters, buttons and magnets bearing Haring´s iconic images. In many ways this adaptation of a commercialized artistic expression marks the geneses of the amalgamation of Pop Art with Graffiti Art.

With the popularity and legitimization of Graffiti Art, has come a level of commercialization, and most recently an integration of Graffiti Art and Pop Art as a sub–genre: Pop Graffiti. Pop Graffiti combines pop elements including pop icons, video game characters, cartoons, comic books, and celebrities with elements of Street Art and Graffiti Art styled text. Contemporary Graffiti Artists like Speedy Graphito and Mr. Brainwash fuse historic pop imagery and contemporary cultural iconography to create this exact pop art – graffiti art hybrid.

Due to the controversies that surround Graffiti Art, Graffiti artists constantly have the looming threat of facing legal consequences for displaying their graffiti Art in the streets. Many choose to protect their identities and reputations by remaining anonymous. Even with the commercialization of graffiti art, and legally painted "graffiti" art, graffiti artists tend to choose anonymity. Banksy is one of the world's most notorious and popular street artists who continues to remain faceless in today's society. Banksy is known for his political, anti–war stencil and his work can be seen on the street and in galleries anywhere from Los Angeles to Palestine. Banksy is the most recognizable icon for this cultural artistic movement and keeps his identity a secret to avoid arrest.

Graffiti Art has been and continues to express underlying social and political messages of our times. Graffiti artists produce relevant art, murals, paintings, and prints reflective of the modern pop cultural experience.

Denis Bloch Fine Art is pleased to provide collectors with original paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures buy Contemporary Graffiti Artists including Mr. Brainwash & Speedy Graphito.

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