All posts by graffititheory

3D Graffiti

Weburbanist has aggregated 3D chalk graffiti from around the world. Find their list of “10 of the World’s Best & Most Amazing 3D Street Artists” here.

These artists have used incredible imagination in order to disrupt public spaces.


Art Therapy

Art Therapy for Prison Populations

  • Catharts and sublimates aggression and violence (see previous post here)
  • Promotes non-verbal communication, even while the inmate does not want to talk about his feelings and ideas which might leave him vulnerable. The environment is dangerous, and any unintended disclosure can be threatening.
  • Can bypass defenses, including dishonesty.
  • Provides necessary diversion and emotional escape.
  • Permits the inmate to express himself in a manner acceptable to both the prison and outside culture.
  • Reestablishes an identity above that of the inmate
  • Works despite organicity, a low educational level, illiteracy, and other obstacles to verbal communication and cognitive development (Gussak & Cohen-Liebman, 2001;Gussak & Virshup, 1997).

(Source: Psychology Today)

Art Therapy for Juvenile Offenders

This results of art therapy in the case of the Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center in Virgina demonstrated a correlation b/w art therapy and (in order from most important to least

  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Reduction of boredom
  • Pride
  • Pos Recognition
  • Working through frustration
  • fun
  • Concentration improvement
  • Improvement in the way they were treated

“Need themes” that were depicted through their art were (in order from most frequent to least)

  • identity issues
  • security and tranquility
  • freedom,adventure,fun
  • erotic and sexual needs
  • expression of depression
  • childhood trauma
  • other psychological problems
  • religious needs

If we can conclude that graffiti can be a form of art therapy for prisoner populations → graffiti can be therapeutic and conducive for the prisoner’s space and psyche

Source: Persons, Ray W.

Modern/Contemporary Graffiti: From ’70s

Modern graffiti art originated in New York City, and it was known first as “New York Style” graffiti. Modern graffiti emerged as a part of Hip Hop culture in 1970s.  (Source:

The Golden Age of Graffiti: 1970s


New York’s subway trains were canvas for the graffiti artists. They usually painted words and “tags” (graffiti writers’ name) on the wall or subway trains. The style of words and “tags” is similar to cartoon images. The most of graffiti artists were from the street. They were not professional artists. Moreover, most of them did not receive art education at art institutions. Graffiti works on subway trains and walls were the works that the street teenagers created.

(Source: MOCA,

Late 80s to The Present

Banksy is the one who changed the image of graffiti. Max Foster (CNN reporter) defined the Banksy effect: how the works of Banksy influenced  graffiti art economically.


Graffiti exhibition at Brooklyn museum (6.30.2006- 9.3.2006)



‘from street to gallery’

Street graffiti art moves from the street to the gallery. In short, museums and galleries began to exhibit graffiti art. Also, several professional and trained artists such as Keith Haring started to do graffiti art as the street teenagers did before. Thus, the street art became a professional art.

List of exhibitions

-The United Graffiti Artists’ 1975 exhibition at New York’s Artists Space

-Fab Five Freddy’s widely discussed spray-painted homage to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans in 1980

-1983, the first major museum exhibition at the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam and the “Post-Graffiti” exhibition at Sidney Janis’s blue-chip gallery.

(Source: MOCA,

Commercial aspects of graffiti (now)



Today’s graffiti art is more commercialized than ever. There are many artists that collaborate with others. Usually, the graffiti artists collaborate with the fashion industry. For example, Louis Vuitton presented the scarf series that the graffiti artists created with the company. Retna, Os Gemeos, and Aiko (all of them are graffiti artists) made Louis Vuitton scarves. Even, Retna covered the surface of Louis Vuitton store in Miami with his graffiti. Also, people can buy ‘graffiti’ t-shirts whenever they want to get.


Still street art

Though graffiti art becomes one kind of contemporary art, still it is a controversial art genre. The controversy over graffiti art is if the graffiti is vandalism or urban art.



Why Spaces:

“Every graffiti artist makes decisions about where their work will live for different reasons. Some choose safety, some fame, others choose randomly. We believe that when art and space collide, the random becomes expressive and experience is created. This project is not solely about graffiti, but rather aims to explore the places in which it exists.”


Types of Spaces:

Blank, smooth surfaces are the most frequently targeted by graffitists. The smoother and lighter in color, the better as the graffitists will be able to use a greater variety of colors. Surfaces that are highly visible are also preferred. Graffitists, like artists, want to show off their work.


Why out in Public?:

Public spaces such as parks, are especially prone to graffiti because in addition to having ideal surfaces, there is no apparent victim. Park authorities are thought of as an unidentifiable entity and the cost of removal thought to be shouldered by the system, rather than one person.

source :

Graffiti Fine Arts Festival

Graffiti Fine Arts

San Paulo is also home to the graffiti biennial which highlights graffiti in a museum setting as products of fine art. The event draws in about 50 or more reputed artist from 13 countries – and growing – in order to share their art in a space that recognizes it as a form of art. The event promotes conversation as well as conversations about graffiti outside the vandalism and law-breaking models, and puts the different nations together to share their art and build a community that goes beyond ones hood or nationality. There is a point to be made about decontextualizing graffiti by celebrating it and taking the street out of it, but these are moot to the awareness the event brings and the tide changing nature of looking at graffiti in a new light.