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Art Movement in Focus: Street Art – An Introduction

Welcome to Art Movement in Focus! In this section, we explore significant art movements in history through a series of articles dedicated to each movement. Here’s looking at Street Art.

Street Art – An Introduction

Often while driving under a highway overpass, or walking past buildings we are greeted with eye-catching scenes. These have been painted and worked on laboriously. Almost always bright, definitely bold and seems to pop out of the surface it adorns, screaming out at the audience. Street art or graffiti hugs sidewalks and is popularly associated with urban areas.

It is ingenious, effective, and obviously popular. Owing to its reach to a wider audience and definitely takes the art out of stuffy galleries ( and the respected viewers). The movement associated with this popular art form is the democratization of art. There is a clear mixing of boundaries between different economic strata to dilute, allowing for a wider inclusion of talent, speech, and thought to be expressed.  

The origins of Graffiti art can be traced back to the 1920s when gang wars of New York ran amok throughout the city. Writing or painting on the sides of cars, trains and walls were a common means to let out the frustrations of the public. The culture had its root in the genres of subversive art.

What makes for its infinite popularity – is the provisional nature of the public works that run the risk of being removed by authorities, or even by other artists. Additionally, the huge demographic that is privy to viewing these works allows for a larger audience. Finally what contributes to the popularity of the form from the perspective of the viewer as well as the artist is how easily the art infiltrates the communal consciousness.

This Art and Its Takers

“To some people breaking into property and painting it might seem a little inconsiderate, but in reality, the 30 square centimeters of your brain are trespassed upon every day by teams of marketing experts. Graffiti is a perfectly proportionate response to being sold unattainable goals by a society obsessed with status and infamy. Graffiti is the sight of an unregulated free market getting the kind of art it deserves.”


Banksy’s statement is noteworthy because in a country like India, in the villages often the walls of huts and shops are adorned with painted advertisements that approximate artworks themselves. It is also a popular mode to disseminate political campaigns, a reverse of public-political opinion.

Needless to say, street art has evolved and developed over the decades and has come to mean different things, the import to has changed. But one thing that has increased steadily is the popularity of the format as a message in itself. 

OUR TOP 6 Street Artists:

The artists of this genre were legendary for the gamut of emotions that they brought to their art, which they generously shared with the world. They were able to put across their views. feelings, thoughts and their unique voice on their canvas. A canvas they knew to be transient yet they fearlessly poured their heart out to be heard.

  1. TAKI 183, (Dimitraki)
  2. Duro, Doze, Mare 139, Shy 147, Daze, Lady Pink, and Crash
  3. Blek le Rat
  4. Jean-Michele Basquiat
  5. Banksy
  6. Keith Haring


Some of the most iconic pieces of art that made their mark in different parts of the world. While some works made their appearance on varied surfaces, using a different medium. There was one agreeable view – to speak out loud, communicate and not hide.

These works tell the story of the brave artists who put a piece of themselves out in the open, far from the safety of closed rooms. They flouted norms to really be out there, raise voices and make a noice. Naturally this takes a different kind of bravado. There are several differences between graffiti and street art, but then later it can be safely said – is a hybrid of the former.  

Untitled, (TAKI 183″)
1970s – 1980s

Taki 183 (Untitled), 1970s-1980s, Dimitraki ( b. 1953/54 )
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Duro, Doze, Mare 139, Shy 147, Daze, Lady Pink, and Crash
“TRAP DEZ DAZE”, NY Subway Graffiti

“TRAP DEZ DAZE”, NY Subway Graffiti 1982, Duro, Daze, Mare 139, Shy 147, Lady Pink and Crash (photograph by Henry Chalfont)
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Bleck Le Rat

Dancers 2017, Blek Le Rat, (b. 1952)
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Jean Michel Basquiat

Skull 1981, Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)
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Follow Your (Cancelled )Dreams

Follow Your (Cancelled) Dreams 2010, Banksy (b. 1974)
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Keith Haring
Radiant Baby

Radiant Baby 1970s, Keith Haring (1958-1990)
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For more such quick introductions and lists regarding Art History, visit Art Movement in Focus.

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