How different are Graffiti, Mural and Street Art?

Posted on January 3rd, 2020 04:14 PM

A lot of people even artists get confused with terms “ graffiti “, “ mural ” and “ street art ”. That’s understandable as the world we live in is confusing. The language is fluid, and art is subjective.

However, to understand these art forms knowing the difference between graffiti, murals, and street art are required.

Most people use these terms interchangeably to praise a particular art form like when they say this street art is better than an ugly graffiti, or that’s not legal graffiti, it is a wall painting a.k.a. mural. This is a short explanation of these art forms.

To understand them better and in details let’s take them one by one.

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti is usually created to show aggression by people in the form of characters/backgrounds, etc. It is done without permission and involves letter-based tags and pieces. Some people to claim an area, to awaken people, take out on rivals or crews use Graffiti. When a name is written with single lines and is thrown up in bubble letters often with one color to fill and others to create a background or character with different pieces of art that have a common color scheme is called Graffiti.

It is predominantly painted with spray cans, but marker pens, paint rollers, fire extinguishers, etc canalso be used to create Graffiti. Artists who create this form of artwork under pseudonyms.Furthermore, elaborate and figurative Graffiti is often combined with images

What is Mural?

Mural has been around since human existence. It is a piece of artwork painted on a wall, ceiling, etc. Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera is famous for his plaster murals painted on the walls of Rockefeller Center.

Mural artwork harmoniously incorporates architectural elements of the given space into the picture. All paintings of the mural aren’t painted on the wall, some of them are first painted on a large canvas and then attached to walls.

This technique became common in the 19th century and many murals were created during the Renaissance. The mural art form is done with permission, artists are recognized for it and paid well to paint the wall. Usually, artists sign the painting with their real name but with time this concept got changed.

What is Street Art?

Saying, Street art began with Graffiti will not be a mistake. Some of the aspects of Street art are adopted from Graffiti and the same energy can be felt in this art form.

Street art is created in public locations, outside the context of traditional art venues. It can also be called as "independent public art", "post-graffiti" , and "neo-graffiti."

This art form gained popularity in 1999 when Bansky painted the first piece in his signature stencil. Furthermore, street art encompasses a diverse range of works and mediums, and it is an evolving art form. Although in it's experimental phase street art has gained popularity and artists keep on trying new techniques. Sometimes it is the use of spray cans, sometimes it is a wall painting, etc. Now, that we know what these art forms are let’s learn the difference between them.

Difference between Graffiti, Mural and Street Art

The major difference between Graffiti, Mural and Street art is that Graffiti artists aren't interested in public understanding of their work even though they place their work in public. Graffiti is only created to speak with other graffiti artists. Whereas in Street art artists make a statement, want everyone to view and get engaged by their work.

Both Graffiti writing and street art are contemporary art movements, however, there technique, function, and intent is different.

Graffiti is hard to read but this is not the case with either mural or street art. In mural and street art different painting methods are used. Also, both these art forms done in daylight, unlike Graffiti. Street art is abstract and artists sign under the painting.

Graffiti has a negative connotation whereas mural is completely different. The mural is directly painted on a wall, ceiling like graffiti but the process is different this is what makes both distinct.

These are the major differences between these art forms. Painting is done to express what the artist thinks but the way they express and out it across publicly is what matters and makes these art forms differ.


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