Graffiti vs Street Art: Difference and Comparison

Art has always formed an important part of human civilization.

Since the dawn of humanity, there have been artists in every generation of every era who have taken to their surroundings to express depictions of their talent and creativity.

Soon enough, these expressions of art began to appear in places where everyone could see and admire them.

They began to take a more important position and stand than just an expression of the artist’s thoughts.

Even now, certain pieces of art may catch the viewer’s eye.

The unique part about them is that they are on the walls of buildings, alleyways, and the like. The main terms associated with this type of art are graffiti or street art.

Key Takeaways

  1. Graffiti is considered a form of vandalism and involves the unauthorized marking of public or private property, while street art is a more accepted form of public art.
  2. Graffiti is done quickly and with spray paint or markers, while street art can involve more intricate designs and a wider variety of materials.
  3. Street art is created to make a statement or inspire social change, while graffiti is done for personal or group recognition.

Graffiti vs Street Art

Graffiti is associated with vandalism and is characterized by using letters and tags. Street art is a formal and intentional form of public art, commissioned and created to beautify public spaces or convey a specific message, and is celebrated by many communities.

Graffiti vs Street Art

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGraffitiStreet Art
LegalityGraffiti is illegal; the authorities do not permit it.The authorities permit street art, and they even sometimes appoint artists.
SignatureBecause being illegal, graffiti artists remain anonymous or choose a different kind of name, like a stage name that they sign on their work.Street art is legal and sanctioned; the artists sign their art with their names. This also helps them with their own publicity s people can easily find and recognize them from their work on the streets.
Time of WorkAgain owing to the illegality of their work, graffiti artists choose to work at night or when their chosen place of work is deserted and empty.Street artists can work in broad daylight without any interruption or restriction by anyone.
FunctionalityGraffiti is used as a form of rebellion or expressing oneself without any boundary or opposition by the artist. Since it is illegal, they are not bound by any rules and draw according to their wishes.Street art is done to serve a function mostly. Its main function is to amplify the beauty of a neighbourhood or a place and make it eye-catching. Thus, well-known artists are recruited for it, and they do their job very well too.
StyleGraffiti artists rarely pay attention to how sophisticated or serene their work is; they use it more as a form of freely expressing themselves.Street art is very sophisticated and always soothing and pleasing to look at. The artists put much effort into making it look a certain way.

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti, in the most technical terms, can be defined as writings or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on the walls or any other such surfaces of public places. This is pretty self-explanatory.

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Graffiti is a word-based art form and is older than street art. Graffiti has self-taught artists and writers who do not receive any special training.

This style also shows in their art and expression of their works. Rules do not restrict it and are more freely connected and represent their thoughts.

Graffiti is associated with vandalism; the artist who creates them is known as a writer. They work in groups and use acronyms or pseudonyms as their signature instead of their real names.

They work at night or when their place of work is deserted to remain anonymous and not get caught.

It has different forms and styles, unique to the artist or crew and viewed accordingly. Graffiti can overlap as there is no universal systematic way of doing this.

This is so because graffiti is illegal and considered vandalism.


What is Street Art?

Street art is a form wherein art is made on the walls or other surfaces f buildings and other such public landmarks with permission and sanction of all necessary kinds granted.

Street art is said to have been inspired by graffiti, but in this case, the authorities call upon renowned and talented artists to do the work.

It is legal, more sophisticated and aims to enhance the feel and visual effect of the place.

The artists can work in broad daylight. They sign with their names, which also helps their fans and followers to find them on different platforms.

The style of street art is more sophisticated and classier and not as dark as graffiti. It is serenading and beautiful to look at.

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Street Art

Main Differences Between Graffiti and Street Art

  1. Graffiti is illicit and considered or at least related to vandalism. At the same time, street art is sanctioned and legal to the point that well-known artists are recruited by the authorities to make them.
  2. Graffiti is more related to texts and amateur drawings that express the artist’s thoughts and concerns and can sometimes represent serious issues they raise. Street art, on the other hand, is serenading and sophisticated. It is classy looking and very well done.
  3. Graffiti artists are self-taught and amateurs, but professional artists recruited by the authorities do street art.
  4. Graffiti artists use pseudonyms or acronyms, or even symbols, to sign their names so that they are not caught, but street art artists sign their real names so that their fans and admirers of the art can find them easily.
  5. Graffiti artists work mostly at night or when the place is deserted, but street artists have no such restrictions.
Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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