Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 21, 2022


Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art

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Art has always been a significant aspect of human civilization. Since the start of civilization, artists in every generation and era have gone to their surroundings to portray depictions of their talent and ingenuity. Soon, these artistic manifestations began to appear in public locations where everyone could view and admire them. They began to take on a more significant role and stand than simply being a reflection of the artist's thoughts.

Even now, certain works of art may capture the attention of the visitor. The fact that they are on the walls of buildings and alleyways distinguishes them. Graffiti and street art are the most common phrases used to describe this form of art.

Graffiti vs Street Art

The fundamental distinction between graffiti and street art is that graffiti is illegal; graffiti artists normally work in secret and fear legal consequences if detected, whereas street art is done with permission from authorities and is frequently accepted by them.

Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art in Tabular Form

Table: Graffiti vs Street Art
Parameters of Comparison
Street Art
Graffiti is against the law and is not tolerated by the government.
The government allows street art, and the artists are occasionally appointed by them.
Because graffiti is illegal, graffiti artists frequently remain anonymous or use a different type of identity, such as a stage name, to sign their work.
Street art is permitted and legal. The painters frequently sign their work with their names. This also aids in their own publicity, as people can readily discover and recognise them from their street work.
Time of Work
Again, due to the illegality of their work, graffiti artists prefer to work at night or when their preferred location is deserted and vacant.
Street artists are free to work in broad daylight without interruption or limitation.
Graffiti is employed by the artist as a means of revolt or expression without any boundaries or opposition. Because it is illegal, they are not constrained by any regulations and can draw whatever they want.
Most street art is created to fulfil a purpose. Its primary aim is to enhance and draw attention to the attractiveness of a neighborhood or location. As a result, well-known artists are recruited for it, and they perform admirably.
Graffiti artists rarely consider how clever or serene their work is; instead, they utilize it as a means of openly expressing themselves.
Street art is refined and always relaxing and attractive to the eye. The painters worked hard to make it seem the way it does.

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti, in the most technical sense, is described as inscriptions or drawings that have been scrawled, scratched, or sprayed illegally on the walls or other public surfaces. This one is rather self-explanatory. Graffiti is a word-based art form that predates street art. Graffiti painters and authors are self-taught and get no formal instruction. This style is evident in their art and the expression of their works. It is not bound by any norms and is more freely connected and indicative of their ideas.

Graffiti is frequently connected with vandalism, and the artist who creates it is referred to as a writer. They frequently work in groups and sign their emails with acronyms or pseudonyms rather than their full names. They frequently labor at night or when their workplace is abandoned in order to remain unknown and avoid detection. It has several forms and styles that are unique to the artist or team and are viewed as such. Graffiti is frequently discovered overlapping each other because there is no universally accepted method of doing so. This is due to the fact that graffiti is illegal and frequently considered vandalism.

What is the process of creating Graffiti Art?

  • "The first step is to identify a spot for the artwork," he explains.
  • Step 2: The depiction of what it will look like in that space follows. "You have to determine if you want your art to stand out or blend in," he says.
  • Step 3: Abhedya also loves to make sure that his art conveys a message or tells a tale. As a result, that is a part of his visualizing process.
  • "Then I sketch the composition on a notebook or an iPad," he says in step four.
  • Step 5: He also designs the artwork digitally on a photo of the wall to get a good idea of how it will look in the end.
  • Step 6: Finally, the execution. "I start with outlines and drawing to construct a grid of the artwork," he explains.
  • Step 7: Once the basis is complete, he begins layering the sculpture by adding large parts first, followed by details.
  • Step 8: "I then concentrate on the structure in the front to give my artwork proper form," he says.
  • Step 9: As a final touch, he adds highlights and depth.

Graffiti is the painting, writing, or drawing on the walls of buildings, buses, metros, or streets by want tobe artists who are crazy about art. They prefer to display their talent in public, where a big number of people may see and appreciate it. They want to be seen and to stand out from the throng. It's so captivating that you can't take your gaze away from it.


Graffiti comes from the Italian term graffito, which means "scratched." It is derived from the Greek word "graphein," which means "writing." Graffiti was first scrawled on scraped walls. Figures in the catacombs of Rome and Pompeii are examples of ancient art inspiration or discovery. 'The Monikers,' produced by hobos, was one of the modern Graffiti known from the past. American graffiti Independence Rock was discovered as an old discovery among Romeos and Greeks. Hip-hop culture inspires contemporary graffiti.

People in the past were motivated to mark their area, proclaim their desires, or modify and vocalise their hidden views.. 

Is Graffiti legal or illegal?

Most places make it illegal. After all, spraying paint on walls without the owner's consent is considered disrespectful by many. Street art is banned in India, even under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act of 1976. Many artists, however, believe that the Indian regulations are somewhat ambiguous. As a result, it cannot be considered illegal.

Graffiti artists in India and South Asia, on the other hand, are safer than those in Western countries, where punishment and fines are severe. However, with the permission of the property owners, this work may be rendered legal. Its use is regarded as vandalism.

Some places where Graffiti is legal are

  • Zurich
  • Switzerland
  • Paris
  • France
  • Warsaw
  • Poland

What is Street Art?

Street art is a type of art in which art is created on the walls or other surfaces of buildings and other public monuments with all appropriate license and sanction. Graffiti is supposed to have inspired street art, but in this case, the authorities hire known and creative artists to undertake the work.

It is lawful, more complex, and strives to improve the atmosphere and visual impact of the location. The artists are free to work in broad daylight. They sign with their names, which makes it easier for their fans and followers to find them on other sites. Street art is more polished and classy than graffiti, and it is not always as gloomy. It's soothing and lovely to look at.

The History of Street Art

People have been drawing and painting on natural surfaces since prehistoric times, when handprints and paintings depicting hunting scenes were hung on cave walls to symbolise the prosperity and solidarity of small human societies. What we call street art today is distinct from the aforementioned wall writings and dates back to modern times, to the war of New York City's infamous gangs in the 1920s and 1930s, when name-based tags and primitive graffiti began to appear on the streets, marking controlled territories by the gangs. Around the same period, a similar urban milieu contributed to art murals making their way into the cityscapes of Southern California's metropolises. Street art has well-documented origins in Philadelphia and, especially, New York City. New York was in financial trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy in the 1960s. The huge regions of boarded-up buildings, vacant lots, shuttered industries, and construction sites became the canvas for a group of artistic kids, first in Spanish Harlem, which led to the formation of a whole art form that ranged from a simple signature to murals that covered entire subway carriages.

The New York Golden Age

Many seminal street artists at the time would write their nicknames and pseudonyms in a distinctive manner with an original design, battling the drive to get noticed in the mid-1970s. Only a few artists, such photographer Martha Cooper, were able to capture the creative process and early impetus of street artist communities. She began photographing the New York street art scene and street artists in the 1970s, and she also helped to shape the entire movement by publishing her book Subway art, which was released in the early 1980s. Cooper's slim paperback edition immediately became a style guide for train writers and graffiti artists not just in the United States, but also throughout Europe.

Street and graffiti art made its way into art galleries and museums during the 1980s, when artists from the New York street art movement, such as Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat, gave such a real credence and carried their works from the street to the fine art world. Since then, the art form has cemented its place in the art world and gained recognition as a cultural phenomenon, despite the fact that such actions are prohibited in many locations throughout the world.

Themes & Techniques of Street Art

Street Art, which is often hilarious and thought-provoking, encompasses a diverse range of themes and techniques beyond the usual graffiti and spray paint.


Street art, while territorial and rebellious in character, tends to convey a social or political statement that sparks debate and reaction. Street art is frequently associated with activism that raises awareness to important social and environmental issues.


Street art is done in a variety of ways using a variety of tools. Tagging using spray paint is one of the most common and fastest ways to put out a work in public, although markers, paint, and inventions like loading fire extinguishers with paint are also popular. Street art, on the other hand, is not confined to paint and markers, since artists use virtually every material and media accessible, such as stencils, stickers, posters, fabrics, LED lights, mosaics, or video projection. Yarnbombing, or the act of bringing colorful knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber to the streets, is a relatively new phenomenon in the field of street art.

Is Street Art Illegal?

Street art may be unlawful if it is done without permission from the property owner. As a result, in order to legally produce street art, you must first seek permission from the property owner. If you do not obtain permission, the property owner or local authority may have your artwork removed or painted over. Having said that, part of the allure of street art is its impermanence. Other methods, such as a picture, can be used to preserve and duplicate the work.

Main Differences Between Graffiti and Street Art in Points

  1. Graffiti is illegal and is frequently associated with vandalism, but street art is sanctioned and lawful to the point where well-known artists are recruited by the authorities to create it.
  2. Graffiti is more closely associated with writings and amateur drawings that communicate the artist's ideas and worries and can occasionally be representative of significant issues presented by them. Street art, on the other hand, is both soothing and sophisticated. It has a really sophisticated appearance and is extremely well done.
  3. Graffiti artists are self-taught and amateurs, whereas street artists are professionals hired by the authorities.
  4. Graffiti artists sign their names with pseudonyms, acronyms, or even symbols to avoid detection, whereas street artists sign their real names so that their fans and admirers of the art may easily discover them.
  5. Graffiti artists typically operate at night or when the area is abandoned, whereas street artists have no such constraints.


Graffiti and street art are closely related phrases that differ only in their legal status. They are frequently used interchangeably, yet they are distinct and easy to differentiate.


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"Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 27 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-graffiti-and-street-art-533>.

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