Graffiti wall art

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Graffiti wall art has always been a mesmerizing form of self-expression, fusing creativity and urban culture to create its own visual language.

This particular art form allows artists to express themselves via their ideas and passions on city walls, transforming everyday locations into lively canvases.

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In our thorough guide, we’ll delve into graffiti’s rich history, explore its varied styles and techniques, and provide inspiration for newcomers looking to make their imprint. Join us as we celebrate the transformative power of graffiti wall art and unearth the story hidden inside each colourful stroke.

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Graffiti wall art has been a powerful means of self-expression and a vibrant part of urban culture for decades. It is a unique art form that allows artists to communicate their ideas, passions, and messages on the walls of their cities, turning ordinary spaces into canvases for their creativity.

A Brief History of Graffiti

  1. Ancient origins: Graffiti dates back to ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Rome, where people used it to express political dissent and leave personal messages.
  2. Modern graffiti: The modern graffiti movement began in the 1960s and 1970s in New York City, fueled by the rise of hip-hop culture and the desire to make a statement in a rapidly changing urban landscape.

The Difference between Street Art and Graffiti

Street art is typically more focused on aesthetics and public appeal, while graffiti is often more about personal expression and has a stronger connection to the artist’s identity.

Graffiti is also generally characterized by the use of spray paint and the distinctive “tag” of the artist, whereas street art can encompass a wider range of mediums and techniques.

Here’s a comparison of Street Art and Graffiti in table form:

AspectStreet ArtGraffiti
PurposeOften created with a public audience in mind. It aims to beautify a public space, convey a message or an artistic expression.Traditionally done for the graffiti artist community, with emphasis on the writer’s name and reputation. It is often an act of rebellion or self-expression.
ContentTypically consists of images, illustrations, and murals. It often contains visually striking designs or messages.Predominantly text-based, usually the artist’s tag or name, although it can also include images.
LegalityCan be both legal (commissioned) and illegal (unauthorized), but is more commonly seen in legal forms, such as public art projects.Often illegal due to its spontaneous and unauthorized nature, but legal graffiti spaces are also growing in number.
LocationFound in public spaces and often created for specific locations considering the surrounding environment.Anywhere accessible, typically urban environments. Often in hidden or hard-to-reach places as a demonstration of skill.
AcceptanceGenerally more accepted and appreciated by the public due to its artistic and aesthetic appeal.Can be considered vandalism by many due to its unauthorized nature, but is also recognized as an art form and cultural phenomenon by others.

Please note that the distinctions can be blurry and the definitions of each can vary depending on the context and who you’re talking to. Both forms are valuable means of artistic expression and have influenced culture and art worldwide.

Graffiti Styles and Techniques

  1. Tagging: The simplest form of graffiti, tagging is the artist’s signature or logo, often stylized and unique.
  2. Throw-ups: Larger and more complex than tags, throw-ups are typically bubble-lettered words or phrases created quickly with a few colors.
  3. Pieces: Short for “masterpieces,” these are intricate and detailed murals that showcase the artist’s skill and creativity.
  4. Stenciling: A technique where an artist creates a design on a stencil, then sprays paint over it to transfer the image onto a surface.
  5. Wildstyle: A highly complex and stylized form of graffiti, featuring interlocking letters, arrows, and intricate designs.

Famous Graffiti Artists and Their Inspirations

  1. Banksy: An anonymous British street artist known for his satirical and politically charged pieces, often using stencils.
  2. Keith Haring: An American artist whose work in the 1980s combined graffiti with pop art, creating bold, colorful, and iconic images.
  3. Jean-Michel Basquiat: A self-taught artist who started as a graffiti artist in New York City, eventually becoming a prominent figure in the Neo-Expressionist art movement.
  4. Shepard Fairey: Creator of the iconic “Obey Giant” and Barack Obama’s “HOPE” poster, Fairey’s work combines graffiti and graphic design to deliver powerful messages.
  1. Eduardo Kobra: A Brazilian artist known for his large-scale, colorful murals, often depicting historical figures and cultural icons.

Legal Graffiti Walls: Where to Practice Your Art

Legal graffiti walls, also known as “free walls” or “permission walls,” are designated spaces where artists can legally create graffiti art without fear of arrest or fines.

These walls promote creativity and provide a safe environment for artists to hone their skills and collaborate with others. Many cities around the world have embraced legal graffiti walls as a way to support local art and culture.

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Graffiti Wall Art Ideas and Tips for Beginners

  1. Learn the basics: Before diving into complex murals, start by practicing your tagging and throw-up skills to develop a solid foundation.
  2. Study different styles: Research various graffiti styles and techniques to find the ones that resonate with you and inspire your creativity.
  3. Use quality materials: Invest in quality spray paint and other tools to ensure your artwork lasts and looks its best.
  4. Be mindful of legality: Always be aware of local laws and regulations regarding graffiti, and seek out legal graffiti walls to practice your art without fear of consequences.
  5. Connect with others: Join local graffiti communities, attend workshops, or collaborate with other artists to learn from their experience and develop your own unique style.

Where to buy Graffiti wall art

Graffiti wall art, in the form of prints, posters, or original works, can be bought from a variety of places:

  1. Art Galleries and Exhibits: Many modern art galleries and exhibits showcase graffiti and street art. They often sell original pieces and sometimes prints as well.
  2. Online Marketplaces: Websites such as , and often carry a wide selection of graffiti wall art.
  3. Art Platforms: Websites dedicated to art sales like Saatchi Art, Etsy, and Redbubble often feature graffiti art from various artists around the world. You can buy original pieces or prints in various sizes.
  4. Artist Websites or Social Media: Many graffiti artists have personal websites or social media accounts where they sell their work directly. This can be a great way to support individual artists.
  5. Specialty Art Stores: Stores dedicated to selling art, especially modern and contemporary works, will often have graffiti wall art for sale.
  6. Street Art Festivals and Events: These events often feature works for sale or artists who are taking commissions.
  7. Local Art Markets or Fairs: Often local artists, including graffiti artists, will sell their works at these events.

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Remember to always ensure the artwork is being sold legally, especially when buying original works. Many graffiti artists have moved towards selling prints and canvases as a legal and profitable way to distribute their work.

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Graffiti wall art has evolved from its ancient origins into a vibrant and diverse form of creative expression. With its unique styles and techniques, graffiti allows artists to make powerful statements and transform urban spaces into open-air galleries.

Whether you are a seasoned graffiti artist or just starting out, there is always something new to learn and explore in the world of graffiti art. Embrace this dynamic art form and let your creativity soar.

About the Author: Ell Rae

Reviewed by: Ell Rae, an interior designer and Dorm decor expert based in South Melbourne, Australia. She is a Content Creator & Blogger with the Peplifestyle team.

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