Graffiti and street art have been highly controversial forms of expression in New York for decades, disdained by art snobs andbuilding superintendents alike.But what exactly are street art and graffiti?
For the graffiti artist, the goal is to "tag" the most places. Extra respect goes to those who manage to emblazon theirtrademarks on hard-to-reach spots, like billboards and the tops of high buildings. Street art, on the other hand, usually has a political or social message and aims to encourage the viewer to think. Althoughlike graffiti, street art is usually illegal, many consider it an alternative art form, valuable to the community at large.Dave Combs, co-creator of the street art "Peel Magazine." says "some peoplewho do graffiti have an element of their motive being destruction or vandalism. For the most part, people who do street art do it to create something new and meaningful and beautiful for the personviewing it."
Street art has started receiving international acclaim in recent years, with star artists (such as the mystery man Banksy) selling their work at Sotheby's for astronomical sums of money.Artists, such as Swoon, have been featured in world-renowned museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum but there are now prestigious galleries putting on street art exhibits;street art collectives have been formed in cities around the world; and a variety of books features these colorful displays of public art. Yet even though street art may have reached critical mass aroundthe globe, it's still considered an illegal form of expression, a street crime.
It is evident that many street and graffiti artists understand the law and view that as part of the process, as a partof their history. In other words, some feel that the commercialization and legalization of all forms of street and graffiti art actually takes away from the movement that so many individuals have...