Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art

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 and alleyways and the like. The main terms associated with this type of art are graffiti or street art.

Graffiti vs Street Art

The difference between graffiti and street art is that graffiti is illegal, the artist who does graffiti usually does it in secret and can face legal consequences when caught, but street art, on the other hand, is done with permission from the authorities and often approved by them.

Graffiti vs Street Art

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGraffitiStreet Art
LegalityGraffiti is illegal, it is not permitted by the authorities.Street art is permitted by the authorities and the artists are even sometimes appointed by them.
SignatureBecause being illegal, graffiti artists often remain anonymous or chose a different kind of name like a stage name that they sign on their work.Street art is legal and sanctioned the artists often sign their art with their name. this also helps them with their own publicity s people can easily find and recognize them then from their work on the streets.
Time of WorkAgain owing to the illegality of their work, graffiti artists usually 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 they draw according to their wish.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 a lot of effort to make it look a certain way.

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti in the most technical of 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.

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

This style also shows in their art and expression of their works. It is not restricted by any rules and is more freely connected and representative of their thoughts.

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

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

It has different forms and styles, which are unique to the artist or crew and viewed accordingly. Graffiti can be often found overlapping each other as there is no universal systematic way of doing this.

This is so because graffiti is illegal and often considered vandalism.


What is Street Art?

Street art is a form of art 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 is of street art is more sophisticated and classier and not often as dark as graffiti. It is serenading and beautiful to look at.

Street Art

Main Differences Between Graffiti and Street Art

  1. Graffiti is illicit and often considered or at least related to vandalism, while 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 which express the artist’s thoughts and concerns and can sometimes be representative of serious issues which are raised by them. Street art on the other hand is serenading and sophisticating. It is classy looking and very well done.
  3. Graffiti artists are self-taught and amateurs but street art is done by professional artists who are recruited by the authorities.
  4. Graffiti artists use pseudonyms or acronyms or even symbols to sign their names so as they are not caught but street art artists sign their real name so that their fans and admirers of the art can find them easily.
  5. Graffiti artists work at night mostly or when the place is deserted but street artists have no such restrictions.
Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9906.2012.00610.x
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=kGKpCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Graffiti+and+Street+Art&ots=aaRwCajNES&sig=f_VUxP8XmFwOX84cy5MNrOg9p5c
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