What is street art? The story of the movement told by an artist.

street art in Berlin, Germany

What is street art?

Street art is a visual artistic concept in which artists usually perform with a social message in public areas. It’s related to the XX century.

The street art definition continuously changes and it could be described as a very wide term.

There are several street art design that could be briefly discussed. These are the types of street art that we love!

  • Graffiti
  • Stencil
  • Paste-ups
  • Stickers
  • Mosaic
  • Video projection
  • Yarn Bombing
  • Street art graffiti 3D
Street art work created by Banksy

Street art history

This form of public art became present in the last period of the XX century. There were many artists who painted their names and works in the streets, mostly in United States.

  • Kilroy
  • Taki183
  • Cornbread
  • Phase2
  • Seen
  • Dondi White
  • Quik
  • Futura
  • Keith Haring
  • Jackes Villegle

All of them were looking for notoriety and they were either representing personal feelings or wanted to attract the attention of someone specific/the general audience.

Taki183 is considered as one of the street art godfathers

When did the street art start?

We would say that it was in the 1940-1980 period when people first observed this form of modern street art.

But did the street art start in that time?

Yes, and we could refer to the WWII as one the events where it did.

“Walroy was here” was a common street art graffiti decoration observed in planes, tanks, piers or buildings. It is attributed to James J. Kilroy.

What are the street art origins then?

As we heard in an exhibition curated by th Spaniard ‘Suso33’ and US pioneer photographer Henry Chalfant, “it was a group of kids who spend their time with a spray can in their hands”.

These teenagers painted their ‘tags’ in train wagons, making them notorious as the metro traveled from North to South New York in just a matter of hours.

Modern street art, the movement’s evolution.

OBEY, best known as Shepard Farey

The urban art scene observed in the first period of the XIX century brings a new wave of artists who elaborate their works in different formats.

They are now creating a cultural discourse which is opened to everybody’s analysis. It is great to observe that pedestrians are now getting their eyes away from their mobile phones in order to think and give an opinion.

Haven’t you heard about any of the following internationally known artists?

  • Banksy
  • OBEY, Shepard Fairey.
  • Vhils
  • Kobra
  • Os Gemeos
  • Okudart
  • C215
C215 is a famous French street art artist

Have you noticed as some people blame this ‘underground’ culture for the gentrification?

The debate is opened and a definition of the term should be continued in the formal educational environment. Should graffiti be taught at school?

What’s the industry like in Spain?

After a short analysis of its definition, let’s concentrate in Spain.

How big would you say the community is? Could you mention the most famous names? Here is a brief list of whom we consider best-known painters.

10 most famous Spanish street art artists

  • Aryz
  • Sabek
  • Pichi & Avo
  • Carlos Callizo
  • Manolo Mesa
  • Sfhir
  • Alex Void
  • Mister Trazo
  • El Rojo
  • El Pez
Street art festival in Spain

*Please take into account that all the images in this page have been obtained & shared from different Flickr accounts with appropriate permissions.

In case you would like to dig deeper into the scene, we would recommend you check the research and educational papers published by Javier Abarca, a leading figure from the first generation of Spanish graffiti.

He has participated, founded, coordinated and curated several national and international projects.

10 most important Spanish street art festivals

Cooltourspain team members have been hunting the best urban art in the country since 2016, and these are some of the events that we would recommend you visit.

  • Art AeroRap @ La Bañeza, León
  • MIAU Fanzara @ Fanzara, Castellón
  • Festival Asalto @ Alfamén, Zaragoza
  • Muros Tabacalera @ Embajadores, Madrid
  • Bloop Festival @ Ibiza, Balearic Islands
  • Desordes Creativas @ Ordes, A Coruña
  • MOS, Meeting of Styles @ different cities
  • I AM Titanes @ Ciudad Real, Castilla La Mancha
  • Gargar Festival @ Penelles, Cataluña
  • Pinta Malasaña @ Malasaña, Madrid
Street art from Spain

What about Madrid?

It was after Franco’s dictatorship when we started observing the first pieces of art. “La movida Madrileña” was a countercultural movement which brought new music and performances to Madrid’s nightlife.

MUELLE is considered as the pioneer for the graffiti and urban art in town. Juan Carlos Argüello passed away leaving a legacy that soon was taken by Spanish teenagers and young adults who were interested in getting their names to the streets.

There were several events organized this past 2019. Local artists participated in their development. This is a short list of them:

  1. CALLE
  2. Urvanity
  3. Arte al Cubo

Frequently asked questions

What’s the street art?

The urban street art is a cultural movement which grew in the XXI century. These are the different types of street art that could be found (graffiti, paste-ups, stickers, yarn, street art graffiti 3D)

What’s the difference between street art and graffiti?

It’s just a technical matter. Street art is a wider term than graffiti. The first one refers to different techniques (stickers, yarn, paste-ups) created in the street, while the second is just the use of spray cans to decorate letters or characters on different surfaces (trains, metal doors, facades..)

We also find interesting the fact that the feelings could be a great difference too. Why? Is it the same to paint legally or under the law?

  • What’s a graffiti?

This Greek word refers to markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building or public restroom.

Is it difficult to make a stencil?

  1. Download any picture from flickr or pixabay.
  2. Open it with Adobe Photoshop.
  3. Click on the ‘images’ tab, go to Settings and then to ‘posterize’.
  4. Edit the layers as you please. We normally work with 2 to 5 layers.
  5. Print the images.

How to do street art?

  1. Buy a sketch book & color markers or pencils.
  2. Design the street art work in a piece of paper.
  3. Buy spray cans according to the surface you are performing at.
  4. Ask for permission/ do it illegally.
  5. Always add a background color layer to your creation. Regular home paint is fine.
  6. Work with layers as you did on step number 2.

How to create your own paste-up?

Making the wheat-paste poster for a poster is an easy task. Just follow the next instructions:

  1. Measure 1:4 ratio of wheat flour and water.
  2. Add water to a pot and boil.
  3. Once the water reaches boiling temperature, add flour and mix.
  4. Deposit the mixture in a container.

Next step is really easy! You just need your street art work and the paste.

Have fun while on task!

Please take into consideration that if you are interested in using this street art definition, you are requested to appropriately credit us with a link to our website.

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