Art or Vandalism? STREET ART

Expression has been the very functionality of art since the beginning of human history. The trades from ‘’Lascaux Caves’’ in France, where the first forms of human settlement exist, were MADE ON THE WALLS!

So this makes us wonder if street art existed for a long time before the one we know...

Ref 1. Lascaux Caves, National Geographic, 2018.

Street art comes from the phrase “to take to the streets”, in which it literally promotes going out to the street or more specifically, going to the public space. It was a genre of artistic production that was greatly popularized in the 1960s and 1970s in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

One of the greatest representations of this genre started from the graffiti technique, a style of painting that uses compressed air which quickly spreads on almost any presented surface, in addition to its incorporation in unauthorized public places. This turned street art into an almost completely illegal expression, which did not affect any artist, since all the works of this genre start from the action of opposition to the exclusivity of galleries, museums and private art spaces, using the public space as a place of attention and direct exposure to the population of any artist regardless of race, skin color, gender or socioeconomic level.

Street art became an artistic force of criticism and empowerment for the population. 

Ref 2. Keith Haring, Crack is Wack Mural , 1986.

However, some artists did not isolate themselves in graffiti! Some artists have incorporated a sculptural approach with their installations, coexisting with the streets in a disruptive way.

One of the most representative artists of street art in its beginnings in the 80s was Keith Haring, who painted on New York subway stations and cars with his iconic style of pop figures that characterized criticism of the society.

Ref 3. Keith Haring, NT 1988.

The debate on whether street art was considered art or vandalism began to gain importance after artists of the genre such as Basquiat and Keith Haring began to sell their pieces at prices of more than 6 figures, which sometimes exceeded those of artists already recognized at that time as Andy Warhol or Roy Linchestein, being representative figures of pop art in the 60s.

The dispute over whether it is art or not continues today with everyday people and artists like us! (Your art bloggers, Séptimo & VIII).

Authentic Open Edition Print by SËPTIMO
 Available for purchase (16 x 20 in) Contact VIII Art Co for more information. 

Maybe the simple fact that it’s been an expression with a cause... it should be listened to and analyzed! Don't you think?

We don't argue the fact that all graffiti or street art isn't fine art, but there are fine artists out there painting on the streets!  So rather we are now being challenged to recognize and to interpret street art differently these days.

Carrie Swim for a Houston, Tx. Mural commissioned by the city.

''Every great artist once disrupted public space as a way for his voice and that of others to be heard!'' - Séptimo. 

Blogger Ana Karen Morales. Monterrey, Mexico 2022. The message exposed centers in preserving water along civilians to protect reserves in Monterrey, Mexico. Today the sate faces a crisis, limiting water on a schedule in several areas throughout the day.

The function of street art is not to criminalize surfaces, it only seeks to express a creation in a space that will give even greater strength to its message, as well as allowing the public to have access to art without any kind of discrimination. 

However, graffiti is a form of vandalism, and in some circumstances it's illegal. Some people consider graffiti art should not be stigmatized due to its place in society, while others may see it as an act of violence or crime against property.

Artists like us are told to stay tuned for upcoming opportunities commissioned by the city... but in some cases, others seek the streets as an opportunity to spread their message and be seen regardless.  

If you are an artist who is looking to work on the streets, we encourage you to find noble ways to do your thing along with the city and property owners if possible!

Lastly, if you or someone you know is looking to commission an artist for an open public space in Houston, Tx. please contact VIII Art Co. to partner with you.  

The End

Stay tuned! Coming Next “The Anonymous Street Artist…” 

 This blog was brought to you by VIII Art Co. 

To Preview artwork by Visual Artist, VIII
Click Here  

“Art or Vandalism? Street Art'' 2022, written by artist and author Gabriel Rosiles, aka Séptimo, Editor- Publisher, Valeria Llamosa, aka VIII (No.8). 

  1. Lascaux Caves, National Geographic, 2018, 
  3. HA!, Keith Haring, 2016, 
  4. The Keith Haring Foundation, 1989, About Haring,!/about-haring/bio 
  5. National Geographic, 2018, lascaux cave, the largest museum of prehistoric art, 
  6. The Art Story, 2022, Street and Graffiti Art,

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