XX century Street art graffiti, the first global art scene

street art graffiti

One of the many differences between street art graffiti and other artistic movements is the fact that since the 80’s it has developed into a global scene.

It gathers different styles, topics and authors who work in similar ways all over the world.

As a global movement, street art graffiti exploited in different locations:

Which are some of the original locations?

Street art graffiti history dates back to the second half of the XX century. Let’s pay attention to the most important spray paint related cities:

– New York scene beginnings, ‘Art versus transit’

Old school street art graffiti
MITCH 77 early 80’s #6 train. Picture by JJ & Special K/flickr

As a common consensus, New York City is referred as the epicenter of the street art graffiti .

At the beginning, this artistic movement began as a fundamental part of the hip hop culture in the United States’ Northeastern areas.

One of the biggest contributions of NYC’s writers was the subway tagging.

  • Small black marker tags (signatures) inside the subway cars,
  • Colourful whole cars- moving masterpieces

– Amsterdam during the 60’s

Train graffiti in Amsterdam
Colt graffiti tag in Amsterdam train photographed by Dr. Garageland in 1992

Amsterdam has always been a beast of its own, and not just because of street art graffiti, but as the world’s leader Marijuana industry.

The Dutch city was in former times, one of the world’s most important ports, with a local society opened to overseas’ influences.

In the late 60’s & early 70’s, the local punk community used a huge range of tools and styles to ‘bomb’ the city with political messages (ilegal paint).

  • Regular paint and spray paint,
  • Stencils,
  • Stickers

‘La movida madrileña’, Madrid 80’s movement

Muelle graffiti legend
‘Muelle’ tag created in Madrid, Spain during the 80’s

Freedom arrived to Spain after Francisco Franco’s death. It was the end of a dictatorship and the young generation’s creativity exploded.

The city was invaded by the new decade’s visual representations. Madrid’s society was changing, and so did the graffiti movement in town. New crews were organized, calling themselves Flecheros (Arrowers). They used:

  • All kind of forms,
  • thickness,
  • directions

The most famous one was El Muelle.

Where are the new hot spots of street art graffiti?

Os Gemeos Lisbon
One of the most famous street art graffiti walls next to metro Picoas, Lisbon (Portugal)

Similarly to what the world’s famous Lonely Planet magazine and travel guide does, here is our favourite places to see the street art graffiti:

– Lisbon, Art by the sea.

Lisbon, Portugal graffiti
Lisbon trams painted with graffiti style decorations.

The Portuguese city is famous for its uphills, the Atlantic Ocean and its vibrant night life.

Besides that, Lisbon is full of amazing almost-derelict buildings and street art graffiti hot spots. Artists from all over the world also paint in:

  • Historical tram cars painted,
  • Abandoned building facades,
  • Traffic signals

Lisbon presents travelers a wonderful mix of local writers and migrant artists, who found in the economic crisis a new way to protest.

Walking up and down Lisbon’s narrow city center streets and avenues, you will step with amazing murals created by international renowned artists:

  • Obey,
  • Os Gemeos
  • Vhils

– Miami’s beautiful colors and walls

Wynwood street art graffiti in Miami Florid
Side walls in Wynwood area, Miami. Picture by Haydn Blackey

You can go around the whole city and catch amazing street art graffiti in Miami, Florida. Cycle from Little Havana to South Beach. The coastal gem is an explosion of bright and colorful walls.

To experience the real Miami’s scene, it’s best that you drive down the Second Avenue to visit Wynwood Walls.

A project developed by Tony Goldman, which was built as an American amusement park. The cool part is that it is a a 100% street art graffiti recreational area.

– Visit Melbourne in Victoria region, Australia.

street art graffiti walls in Melbourne
Teenage group walking over a narrow street full of graffiti tags and throw-ups

Few places in the world gives their citizens the support to street art graffiti as this capital city does.

The local scene is as old as AC/DC classic tunes, and Melbourne is known as the worldwide’s stencil capital. The technique was adopted by local artists decades ago, but the 2004 stencil international festival gave a huge recognition and reputation to Melbourne.

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the street art graffiti.

This emergent artistic style attracts millions of young people who learn by themselves, with the help of YouTube videos, or thanks to the local graffiti community in their home countries.

It is a way of life for many of us. We appreciate what others criticize and disrespect, and we are proud to be members of the Spanish street art graffiti scene.

Our street art tours and graffiti workshops in Madrid try to engage the local emergent scene and promote local artists’ artworks.

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