Street Art and Graffiti History in Brief

From Controversial Subway Beginnings to Urban Art and Gallery Pioneers

The history of graffiti is a story that goes beyond our time and way back to the very beginnings of the civilization itself. First drawings, scribbles or scratches on the walls were one of the initial artistic expressions of our human ancestors and they have been with us for millennia. However, it wasn’t until the twentieth century that graffiti became more than just the writings on the wall but a true cultural phenomenon.

The Birthplace of Graffiti History As We Know It

The birth of the modern graffiti writing is usually regarded as one of the (sub)cultural phenomena that can be traced back to the late sixties and early seventies New York City. That short period of time saw an increasing number of graffiti writers who started leaving their signatures on the walls and other public venues, most notably in the subway area using resistant markers or spray paint. These earliest tags were both hated as vandalism and seen as the new form of the artistic expression, especially appealing to the younger and rebellious audiences. In the late seventies and during the eighties graffiti became inseparable from the hip hop music scene and the lifestyle built around it as well as one of the best ways to spread political disagreements in the punk subculture. These appropriations of graffiti techniques from the subcultural groups are one of the main reasons why graffiti writings are seen as more than just another form of artistic expression.

Graffiti Going Global – Modern Street Art Culture

By the beginning of the 21st century, graffiti art was widely accepted and popularized on a global scale. Street art also became a diversified art movement going beyond those initial graffiti impulses and encompassing various disciplines and practices from stencils and wheat pastes to street art installations, sculptures and performances.

Institutional Recognition of Street Art Practices

An important thing that occurred during the last couple of decades is the institutional recognition of street art practices and the increasing change of the environment for street artists and graffiti writers. Those days of subway tagging or throw ups are pretty much long gone, and today there isn’t practically any artist coming from the graffiti background that hasn’t crossed over into the gallery world. If you take a look at our Gallery Database and you will surely find some information about your favorite street artist exhibiting his/her works at a gallery or in the museum even. In addition, street art, urban art, graffiti-inspired artworks are getting even more popular amongst the collectors, becoming a significant force on the art market. Widewalls Marketplace is a great example of the increasing value of those artworks.

Learn About the Street Art History in the Making on the Pages of Widewalls

Today we can’t talk simply about these intricate and complex phenomena. The art world is changing and street art has evolved beyond spray paint and simple graffiti lettering more than anyone could have imagined back in the days. To understand present one must learn about the history first, and in a carefully chosen selection of articles, you can discover many interesting and significant facts about the beginnings and evolution of graffiti and street art.

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From Hip Hop and subway beginnings to contemporary developments, everything you need to know about graffiti history is on this page!