A street art definition as seen by 3 different urban art community members

Unique street art defition

Contemporary and modern art museums from all over the world exhibit with pride the artworks of post-graffiti writers. Therefore it might be necessary to create altogether a clear street art definition to set up this underground culture’s core values.

Today’s article will feature the opinion of 3 relevant Madrid urban art community members. Let’s see what do they think about the following questions.

What’s the best street art definition?

Based on Javier Garcia’s words, Cooltourspain’s CEO, we could define the term as a cultural XX century movement which decorates urban landscapes with color, usually with spray paint and a social message.

This urban art definition could be used in general aspects, but there is a whole world inside it. Thus it should be important to point out that there exists a difference between street art and graffiti. Don’t you think so?

What are the street art origins?

Dzia street art in Heerlen
Dzia / Heerlen by Ferdinand Feys

Firstly, Mr. Garcia believes that street art is a not-that-old concept. Above all, artists used it as a protesting & social way of communication!

NYC Graffiti may pop into your heads if you are thinking when did street art start, but images & history show us that we could observe the first tags in Philadelphia circa 1960s.

If we apply the quote “think global, go local”, the street art origins in Madrid city date back to 1980s and ‘La movida madrileña’. Juan Carlos Argüello, aka Muelle, worked with great effort for a legacy. Many fellow artists consider him as a pioneering figure.

Who are some of the most famous street art artists?

  • Banksy, the still unknown most popular contemporary art artist.

If urban art is closely linked to one name, then teenagers and adults alike would identify Banksy as the first name that pops into their heads. His stencils have been painted in relevant spots, such as the Israeli-Palestinian wall, and even sold by over 1.18€ millions.

  • Obey, aka Shepard Fairey.

According to Mr. Garcia’s words, the second most renowned artist would be this American creator. His famous stencil for the Barack Obama‘s 2009 presidential election campaign gave him a chance to elevate his brand to international fame.

The opinion of a local activist

street art definition of CAZ1 / Wetteren
CAZ1 / Wetteren image by Ferdinand Feys

Patricia Rodriguez is a 28 years old activist from Venezuela, who moved to Madrid city by the age of 12. She graduated from Complutense University in History of Arts, and has worked for Cooltourspain since 2019.

She is in charge of our project’s blog, and frequently writes article which empower women in history. Mrs. Rodriguez’s street art definition is directly related to female artists.

What is the street art?

A similar definition about street art would be defined by Patricia. Similarly to what Javier thinks, she describes street art as guerrilla art. Female artists who use spray cans, home recycled paint and stencils to create a debate in the society about injustice.

The population should emphasize the inequalities that exist in the modern art industry. There are way more men in women participating in street art festivals, and this should change. Organizers should reverse the situation and establish 50/50 rates.

Patricia, Madrid local activist and feminist

How to do street art?

Artoon Toon Van Ishoven in Werregarenstraatje
Artwork by Artoon Toon Van Ishoven in Werregarenstraatje/ Ferdinand Feys

Madrid based activist, Patricia, thinks that in order to create street art, you’d just need your imagination. Above all, it’s up to one’s creativity that you could create more developed artworks or not.

You could start with a sketch on a paper, but there are a certain number of street artists names who use digital tools.

How many techniques could you use?

  • Paper based materials to create stencils,
  • Spray paint to make a problem visible in the streets,
  • Ceramic & tiles to develop 3D installations.

A social street art definition by Gerardo Reina

Gerzu has photographed street art around Mexico, Spain and Europe for the past 6 years. His countless number of images feature local emergent artists. Therefore this album could tell the history of an underground community.

He defines street art as an avant-garde way of expressing thoughts and feelings in urban spaces.

In addition, Gerardo thinks that it’s in the message where the idea of art releases its beauty. Does everybody see one particular artwork in the same way?

What’s the difference between street art and graffiti?

Bisser / Leuven image
Artwork painted by Bisser in Leuven /Ferdinand Feys

It is important to differentiate between these two categories, because they aren’t the same. In other words, they represent two different worlds.

To start with, graffiti prioritizes the illegality and heart beat among everything. Writers do put energy and effort in their missions, although quality primes too!

On the other hand, we could observe how street art differs from graffiti as it is observed as commercial. It is true that some artists work without permission, but we normally highlight its aesthetics.

The street art culture in Madrid, Spain

Mr. Reina believes that the local scene doesn’t seem to sleep. Whether it’s at day time or during the night, artists develop their artistic skills in the city center.

There are several keyspots that anybody interested in creating a street art definition in their minds, should visit:

  • La Tabacalera (Calle Embajadores, 53)
  • Esta es una plaza (Calle Doctor Fourquet, 24)
  • La Neomudejar (Calle Antonio Nebrija, s/n)

Our opinion about the street art definition

Despite we just introduced you to the term, it may vary in its sense and content. It will all depend on each individual point of view.

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