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How Street Art’s Commercialization Affects Cityscapes and Communities

Free essayStreet art is considered as one of the main social aspects of the community. The term ‘commercialization of street art’ has been used in the society for several years only (Young 2013). The following term means that street art has turned from the category of violations to the particular art trend in the society, which allows expressing oneself and creating a financial value. Some time ago, street art was considered as a violation of the law, while now it is a trend in art. The concrete walls of the spaces people occupy have become living canvases. It is important to understand the differences between graffiti and street art. Graffiti is an anarchist mentality that damages property, whereas street artists use their works to communicate a particular message to the audience and to bring it back to the community (Young 2013). Street art is a notion developed from graffiti. It should be noted that the development of street art has not finished yet. The main differences between graffiti and street art are expressed in the language of both styles. Graffiti is aimed at expressing the thoughts and ideas of the artist with the purpose to get some fame, while street art is aimed at reflecting in a creative way and supporting the place where it is implemented for community benefit (Dines & Vermeulen 2013). In using street art, people can express the surrounding in a subjective way and deliver their personal messages. Any visual expression has the power to evoke thoughts and to instigate action. Graffiti was originated in New York, where many graffiti writers gained recognition after spray-painting on trains. Street art remained gang related and gained notoriety. It is not until the 1990s that the art form would enter the public consciousness.

History of the Street Art Development

Even though street art is accepted as a new trend being referred to the 1990s, this type of art has existed in the society for centuries. Ganz (2009), who has been studying the question from the ancient times, has managed to find out that ancient people used “stones” and “bones” to decorate their caves, and “early man also anticipated the stencil and spray technique” (p. 8) by “blowing coloured powder through the hollow bones around his/her hands to make silhouettes” (p. 8). Considering the examples of street art in the history, it can be seen “from pictures carved into the walls of the Lascaux Cave in France to ancient Greek and Roman cities” (Gleaton 2012, p. 6). The example of the graffiti from the walls of the Lascaux cave in France is The Panel of the Great Black Cow displayed at Lascaux R?v?l? (See Picture 1). The example of the Roman cave graffiti displays the daily life.

Graffiti in the ancient world was one of the ways to express one’s opinion. By painting on the walls, people could show their attitudes to different social and political changes in the Roman society. Artists used the city walls to deliver the messages to the authorities, to make them hear. The messages contained different information that could reflect the demands, appreciations, or even the contradictions of the actions of the state authorities. During those times, the attitude to graffiti was positive; however, the increasing gap between the working class (who were considered as the authors of the graffiti) and the elite (who believed themselves as the cultural developers) allowed considering graffiti as something negative, belonging to the working class only (Lewisohn 2008). Rich and wealthy people used to disregard poor working people, as well as the art of those people. A modern positive vision of graffiti developed at the end of 1970s in Philadelphia. The great contribution to this positive treatment of street art became possible due to Taki 183, Julio 204, and Cat 161, who used graffiti for their names on the walls of the subway stations around Manhattan (Miller 2011).

When people first encountered graffiti, it had a negative connotation. There is a thin line between what is considered street art and vandalism. Moreover, vandalism is a destruction of property and has been shown to have negative repercussions on its surroundings. The connection has been found between vandalism, street violence, and social disregard. After having developed a theory that one act of disorder may lead to the further acts, criminologists have related graffiti to the same theory. Therefore, e graffiti was considered a problem as it could lead to other cases of law violation (Braga 2012). Defining vandalism, it is possible to state that it is any action involving a deliberate damage or destruction to public or private property. Any unauthorised art in any public space is illegal. However, not all forms of street art are vandalism, only meaningless graffiti.

Since 1982, what used to be a destruction of property is now increasing its value. Now, when a mural is painted, more artists will paint around it, and it generates positivity and creates an identity to the area. Today, graffiti and street art, almost always used as synonyms by mistake, are instantly noticeable. Street art has developed different styles (posters, installations, stickers, stencils, graffiti, 3D, etc.) and has transformed into a recognised art form. It has received popularity through various forms of mass media, such as films, popular videos, and magazines, to become a global phenomenon. According to Elizabeth Hirschman (cited in Gleaton 2012, p. 47), “street artists may act as artists and ideologists”; they are able to “formulate beliefs about the nature of reality and values regarding desirable states of reality”. Professional street art does not only reflect the personal considerations of the environment, it also contributes greatly to the community expressing the opinion of the whole society. The accessibility of an art form contributes to its power. The fact that the artists are using walls in the streets amplifies their message as more people have access to it. As stated by a street artist Banksy (2005), graffiti is a tool and “the wall is the weapon of choice to hit…back” (p. 8) “it’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with” (Banksy 2001, p. 26). Therefore, the history of the graffiti development played a very important role in the street art development and the commercialisation of the trend.

Commercialization of Street Art

The role of the information technologies in the development of street art is great. The new digital age plays a role in the distribution of the messages found on the walls. It targets a larger audience as people can share the pieces they like and spread the messages, as if the Internet is a giant wall available in different parts of the world. It can be easily said that the commercialization of street art has also been in part thanks to the Internet and social media. Nowadays, most artists have Instagram or Facebook accounts, and there is a rise in a number of blogs and websites, as well as more and more online street art galleries treating the subject. Internet recognition contributes to street recognition. According to The Economist, “Teenagers getting into the art stopped trying to impress people by breaking into train yards and started trying to draw things that would get noticed online… Nowadays, only hardcore purists still try to paint trains” (D.K. 2013). Thus, information technologies have raised the level of street art from the community to the national and even international level, thus having contributed to the development of street art as a financial project.

The fact that advertising is also using graffiti and street art for commercial purposes also enhances the notoriety of the form. It, however, takes on a different meaning. Big brands are using an anti-capitalist art form that is all about freedom of expression in order to sell their brands instead of achieving some sort of social result of inspiring social change. When the style is used for commercial means, it takes on a different meaning. It is another issue that we will be discussing only to emphasize the importance of street art culture. Brazilian artist Deninja claims that graffiti acts as an art “that is there in the streets for those that don’t have a culture, don’t understand art but like it for that it is… for the beggars, poor children, prostitutes, lunatics and drunks of the streets” (Ganz cited in Gleaton 2012, p. 52).

One can ask a question whether the commercialization of street art undermines the message, but the power of the art form lies in its ability to always trigger confrontation and divide the public opinion. Banksy, for example, uses this new medium, namely, the canvases and auction houses, with the purpose to target his messages and make them even more relevant. Some street artists generated attention through their works in the street that it was not long before the galleries began to recognise graffiti as a valid art genre. As a result, the subculture’s strong appeal has gained popularity over the years. Today, people can notice it in advertising, art galleries, museums, and even in the fashion industry. The commercial world is interested in this new art movement and its potential to enhance a company’s image and reach the younger consumers. Some artists even benefit from international fame, which has led to a surge in the value of works the same way as any other art form. Artists, like Banksy, have sold their works in the six-figures. However, not all artists strive to achieve commercial success, and some prefer to work illegally on the streets, they are called purists.

Nowadays, street artists are gaining a reputation, and even the pieces on the walls have a lot of monetary value. It contributes to helping people accept and embrace street art. When a journalist referred to graffiti as ‘vandalism’ in an interview with the famous artist Robbo, he said that “you can see it that way or you can see it as someone creating his/her own landmarks in a city where it’s all too easy to lose your voice” (Fuertes-Knight 2014). Landmark is a key word here as street art pieces are gaining importance in cityscapes and are bringing money to the communities through tourism.

The definition, use and role of street art in the society are changing. Being originally a tool to mark personal territory, today it is seen in most cases as a means to improve urban landscapes. Street art is a legal public art. Graffiti is still violation of the law. Street art and its notoriety have influences cityscapes, communities, and the art market. It has affected the real estate market in many cities in the world, which is going to be supported by the specific examples from the Banksy’s street art and the Wynwood project that have allowed the communities to speak through the social action. The main consequences of the commercialisation of street art are the increased amount of financial incomes to the real estate organizations and the communities in general. The whole areas have been boosted with street art, which affects the rents in the areas and, therefore, stimulates the economy.

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Banksy is a famous British street artist. His works due to the Internet are known all over the world. That is why it is obvious that the houses in the community with his works usually increase in rent. Matt Levy, the one who leads the street art tours in New York, has stated for The Guardian, “40 years ago, graffiti meant the neighborhood was broken… today, street art, which is like graffiti with a college degree, means that neighborhoods have pour-over coffee shops and artisanal wood-fired pizza restaurants and safer streets and higher rent” (Holpuch 2014). Therefore, Banksy has a very serious influence on community through commercialisation of street art.

The raise of the commercial effect of Banksy’s designs can be explained by his political direction of the pieces. Even though he is a famous artist, some of his works remain anonymous on the streets. The main reason for this is the illegal nature of some street art. However, Banksy’s style is recognizable since he usually refers to Walt Disney and McDonald’s images. He turns vandalism laws upside down with his own theory of “brandalism”. He has even put up a stand in New York for a whole day selling his art for 20$ when it is worth much more. It was done just to make a comment on how overpriced his pieces are. Only 4 pieces were sold (Valesi 2014).

The commercialisation of street art is also famously known as “the banksy effect”. He was the first street artist in the modern world to have his own show and to be recognised on the art market. Now, his pieces are valued for exorbitant amounts of money, which has had a direct influence on his street work. His work is valuable in the art market, and consequently, it has become valuable in the streets as well. People are protecting or even removing pieces from the walls. Councils are placing Perspex windows on his pieces to preserve them. They are precious to the community and have become landmarks that attract a considerable number of tourists.

A great example of the importance of his work to a community is Banksy’s “anti-racist” piece (Picture 3), presumably designed to satirize xenophobic sentiments in seaside town Clacton-on-Sea, was scrubbed away by the City Council within 48 hours of appearing on the wall. When they realized it was a Banksy’s piece, they immediately regretted removing it, and the whole community was very upset of what had happened (Wells 2014). It was a racist piece, but as Banksy said: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” (Christian 2013). Liberals reacted quickly to what happened and accused the council of removing a piece from a “real artist” that was worth millions and would have brought a lot to the community.

One can argue that street art is not how it used to be. It has lost its power of communication because people are ranking the works even in the streets and the art form’s commercialisation is responsible for this. People are abused of their power, or it can be said the powerlessness of the artists towards their artworks in the streets. The artist takes advantage of the unclear laws around the rights of the artists towards their works. A lot of artists’ works are being used to print on T-shirts, posters, etc. without his permission. Random people are making money out of it. The artists are not profiting of an artwork they created, at the same time, they would probably never want to sell it. The artists moral rights are still unclear and yet not well understood by the big public.

During the personal communication with the artist Jimmy C, I got to know that people took pictures of his works on the streets and used on prints and t-shirts to make money out of it. He had to ask them himself to stop doing that. The popularity of street art has risen during the past 20 years, and it is under the current economic conditions in the world that people are trying to make money out of it. The regulations of the author’s rights are required in the street art since such increased cases of the violation of the rights of possession. The Internet has created the favorable conditions for this. Therefore, the commercialization of street art can lead to the communalization of the work if specific measures are not taken for the regulation of the commercialization relations in the following field.

Street art is about the message it conveys in a time and space it is introduced. Some might say that Banksy’s popularity is in contrast with its anti-establishment message as the content of his art fundamentally attacks audiences that are pricing it up. However, street artists use the fame to keep creating controversy using this new context and new mediums. Banksy is mocking at people that are taking his art off walls. He has found a way of shifting his message and staying true to the core values of street art. Many people adore Banksy’s art, and tourists use the places with his works as the sights. Street art serves in favor of the cities. Even the authorities are powerless about the illegal possession of someone’s street art as they stated, “the property owner is legally entitled to make decisions about the artwork without informing the council” (Yong & Lane 2014).

“The area is a lot more vibrant for it” says Michael Yong (2014) after finding out that the Banksy’ piece in Cheltenham is a real Banksy’s one. CCTV cameras have been specially installed around it to protect it with a layer of anti-graffiti preservative. “It has become such a feature of the Fairview, and people come from all over to see it” (Yong & Lane 2014) says Tanya Taylor who works at the Fairview pub in Cheltenham. “The pub, caf? and shops still get people coming in after travelling to see the work” (Yong 2014) adds Michael, a neighbor. However, even if the whole community was glad to have that new ‘Spies’ piece in the landmarks of their small town, it was only a matter of weeks before the piece was sold for ?1 million to a London art gallery. The main idea of the piece is to show the 1950s-style spies, the traditional on that time clothing for spies with listening devices (Picture 4).

The Heritage Lottery Fund made an attempt to create a report that was going to reflect the “value of British culture to the economy” (Aspden 2013). Bansky’s exhibition was reflected there. People are interested in street art and want to see the original works, not the photos from the Internet. As a result, the Stealing Banksy project was created online (The Sincura Arts Club 2014). According to the project creators, the main idea of taking off Banksy’s pieces off the walls is for “exploring the social, legal and moral issues surrounding the sale of street art” (The Sincura Arts Club 2014). However, basically, this exhibition means that the creators of the project have taken advantage of the fact the artist has no legal rights on his work and that the owner of the building wanted to remove the piece to make money while raising the question of legality to create a concept around what was done. By following the law, these pieces belong to the person that owns the wall and not the artists. Such a position gives the building owners the right to make whatever they want to these pieces of art. They argue that the fact that they take the pieces off the walls will make them serve longer for the community in time and will not disappear or be damaged by anyone. They also highlight that the most of the benefits go to charities. However, neither community nor the artists are those who benefit from it.

Banksy’s reaction to such actions is as follows:

the people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit… the people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff…. any advertisement in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours, it belongs to you, it is yours to take, rearrange and reuse. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head… (Banksy cited in Gleaton 2012, p. 40).

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Real Estate and Wynwood

Although street art mostly denounces gentrification, it also sometimes plays a role in it. The value street art is acquiring has consequences on the cityscapes as well. It gains value in the art market, as well as in the streets. This means that the walls they are painting on have a certain value, and it also has a direct repercussion on real estate. Most of the important pieces in the streets are being preserved and have become a rising tourism attraction at the same level as any other public art. John R. Caldwell (2012), a member of the Athens cultural affairs commission, said: “a city enriched with public art, and one that offers cultural amenities, is a city that attracts business”. Thus, the street art affects financial conditions in the society; therefore, the commercialization of art becomes a point for discussion in the real estate business.

The Wynwood project is one of the examples of street art commercialization. Many places in Miami are colored with street art. Warehouses in the past, the buildings in the district of Greater Miami were offered for street artists. As a result, the Wynwood Arts District has numerous galleries and stores which streets are colored with the best street art. It became possible to transform the warehouse district, “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place” (Yasmine 2013). Before the project realization, Wynwood ticked all the boxes, big walls were of inappropriate look because of the warehouses. It was considered a poor area where no one cared if one embellished the walls. These criteria are important in the realization of such a project and are what made its success.

The Wynwood Walls are a major art statement and have become a big creative hub. Tony committed to graffiti and street art, a genre that he believed is under appreciated, “By presenting it in a way that has not been done before, I was able to expose the public to something they had only seen peripherally” (Yasmine 2013). The amazing murals continue to attract thousands of people to the Wynwood Walls each year. It is a perfect example of how street art has helped revitalize a run-down, abandoned community and turned it into a must-see destination in the city. Therefore, the commercialization of street art has affected the increase of the interests in graffiti. However, additional problems have appeared.

The fact that street art has a direct effect on real estate means it has a direct effect on the economy. The areas the artists paint in are in most cases the areas where they live. Not many artists can afford the expensive rents of trendy downtown areas, so most live in less expensive areas of cities. These communities become the trendy areas that attract galleries, shops, and restaurants. This can change a not very desirable neighborhood into a desirable one with the property prices that goes with.

According to Winnie (2007), “It has been proved that artists — defined as self-employed visual artists, actors, musicians, writers, etc. — can stimulate local economies in a number of ways”. Artists are aware of this. According to Da Cruz:

It’s the same problem all over the world. People tolerate us, people are happy for us to come in during this transition period before a neighborhood is rebuilt. We are the city’s colorful Band-Aids. When I was spray-painting, I tried to raise awareness, or at least to accompany the changes. What else, aside from colour, can bring people together better? You can’t fight against bulldozers, but you can have an impact on what people are thinking before, while it’s happening and after (Arlandis 2013).

Once an area has boosted some cultural activity, people with money tend to become more interested in it. Culture draws not only wealth, but it can also bring workers, improving an area’s job market and, thus, its economy. Street art is an efficient way to bring “cultural assets to a neighborhood that didn’t have any” (Arlandis 2013), says Winifred Curran.

Street Art Encourages Social Action

Street art in the modern world encourages social action and social recognition. The artists do all possible to reflect their opinions and moods. Such street art idea expressions help the community to have a voice, to express opinion that sounds more expressive than newspapers and the Internet. In addition, poor people who cannot express their views through mass media, as they do not have writing abilities have to look for other ways. Consequently, our visual landscape feels more like a system of control. When these “legitimate” systems of communication fail individuals in a society, street art can act as a remedy to our visual space being used as a social control mechanism. This conclusion can be drawn after the specific examples considered before.

Moreover, people have been struggling with their right to freedom of speech using street art (‘Gaffiti is democracy’ 2013). Artists have brought art to street to get the government attention. These pieces painted are enhanced with the use of social media and the Internet to make a louder statement. The commercialization of street art has spread the reach of the messages the art conveys. In many countries, street art is used to denounce politicians or stress on social inequality. Throughout the history, street art has been used as a form of expression during manifestations of moments of crisis in a country. Recently street art has boomed in the Middle East with the recent conflicts as it is a form of communication addressed to everyone and is free of censorship. Many countries in Africa use the art form to communicate/denounce and make people think about what is really happening (‘Street Art and Social Movements’ 2009).

I will focus on a street artist JR (Picture 5), who has more than once used the boundaries of the space to get his message through and to help communities. His art, through the simpleness of human faces, expresses opinions and generates debates. He uses the faces of the people, the faces of the country, as well as the people that do not have a voice to communicate and creates a sense of control and community. Being born in France, this person was just keenn on graffiti, and this passion changed for street art where he referred to different social and political themes to describe the social changes, as well as opinions and the thoughts of the community and its representatives.

JR states that the street is “the largest art gallery in the world” (Kramer 2012). He flyposts, which is the act of placing large posters in unauthorized places, the black-and-white photographic images of human faces across massive walls in cities and suburban landscapes everywhere in the world. His work challenges preconceptions propagated by the media, it has earned him considerable recognition for his achievements, as for example, the TED Prize in 2011. Even though his work is everywhere in the world, he continues living in Paris. It is the place where he did his first big project. During the riots in Paris in 2005, the streets were burning, and there were lots of disturbing images on TV. The media were portraying the kids taking part in the riots as monsters, dangerous individuals. JR knew these kids, they were his friends, and he said that even though they were not angels, they were not monsters either. He says:

It was kind of weird to see those images and those eyes stare back at me through television. So I went back there with a 28mm lens… So I took full portraits of people from Le Bosquet. They were making scary faces to play the caricature of themselves. And then I pasted huge poster everywhere in the bourgeois area of Paris with their name, age, even building number” (JR 2011).

Later on, after seeing horrible things on television and wanting to see the truth for himself, he went to the Israeli/Palestinian border. JR and his crew went in the streets and started asking people questions and just talking to them. It was not long before they realized that what was said on television was not true. So, they decided to take portraits of the Palestinians and Israelis doing the same jobs (a taxi driver, lawyer, or cook) asking to make a face as a sign of commitment, “not a smile that doesn’t say much about who you are and what you feel” (JR 2011). They all accepted to be pasted next to the other. On both sides of the wall, they launched the biggest illegal art exhibition ever. The project is called Face to Face (Picture 6). What he accomplished here is to get enemies make weird faces next to each other. It denounces the fact that it is a war that is not wanted by the people and it puts forward that they are all the same in the end. All these ideas are delivered through street art. While creating this specific masterpiece, artists felt support from the population. It is one of the best proofs that street art is the expression of the thoughts and ideas of the community. People are interested in street art, and the members of the community do understand what the real meaning of the paintings is.

Their next objective was to go to the places where women are the pillar of the society, but men are still in control. This new project was created to pay a tribute to women; it was called Women Are Heroes (Picture 7). This project could take them everywhere in the world, but their first stop was Rio de Janeiro. The criminal situation in this city is rather extensive. Many stories are discussed the law violators and those who do not obey the rules of the criminal community. Sometimes people are not taken to the police, but they are just taken to a rival favela where they get chopped into pieces. It was a great shock to everyone, but no one had reacted to it because this favela was ruled by a big drug cartel. When JR team came, they met the families of the kids that were killed and all wanted to shout the story to denounce what had happened. However, no one could speak about it (JR 2011).

Everyone in the favela gave JR the green light for street art, and they started doing what they could do the best, expressing the position of the community on the street walls. The drug lords were a bit worried, but JR insisted on absence of any pictures of the weapons and conflicts, so they let them do their art (JR 2011). He posted on the stairs where the kids were arrested a picture of the grandma of one of them. These stairs had a lot of tension. Everyone there understood the project. The media could not get in during the work, but when JR left, mass media were puzzled, and they turned to a simple woman on the street to get an explanation. It created a bridge between the women and the media (JR 2011).

During another project in Monrovia, Liberia:

People come straight to you, they want to know what you’re up to. They keep asking you what is the purpose of your project, are you a NGO? Are you media? Art, I’m just doing art. To a man who didn’t understand I heard someone say: you know you’ve been here for few hours trying to understand, discussing with your fellows. During that time you haven’t thought about what you are going to eat tomorrow. This is art” (JR 2011).

In in a very poor slum in Kibera, Kenya, they covered the roofs with images. They did not use paper because paper does not prevent water to come into the houses, but vinyl does. Art became useful. Now when you look at Kibera, it is possible to see the vision of the community on the situation. This is the street art. It creates an identity and gives a voice. Behind each photo, there is a story that means something to the people in the community. Women are heroes created a new dynamics in all the places, and the women kept these dynamics after they left.

Everyone was happy to get his/her face posted on the streets of the community. Every person asked was to make his/her story travel with him, so he did it. He made a street exhibition of the faces everywhere in the world. The commercialization of street art made it possible for all these people to be heard, seen, and their opinions considered for once. After these portrait projects, JR started using other people’s artworks to make statements. He said:

I’ve started a project recently where I don’t choose my artwork anymore. I used Giacometti, Helen Levitt, other people’s artworks. It doesn’t matter today if it’s your photo or not. The importance is what you do with the images. What about copyright? The statement it makes where it’s pasted (JR 2011).

It means that the artist cannot demand the copyright since the pictures he did were based on the thoughts and opinions of other people. The artist in this case is just the tool to deliver the message, so he/she is not the owner. The community is and street art is exactly where it should be. It is a heritage of the community. For example, he pasted a photo of the minaret in Switzerland, few weeks after they had forbidden minarets in the country. JR insists:

Art can change the perceptions, art can change the way we see the world. Art can create energy. It is a neutral place for exchanges and discussion and then enables it to change the world. When I do my work I have two kinds of reactions. People say, oh why don’t you go in Iraq or Afghanistan, it would be really useful. Or, how can we help? (JR 2011)

Even though some people do not understand what street art is for, it still does not mean that people do not care. Overall, community interest in street art means that people do care. Misunderstanding is created by the mass media, so the more people see the original street art, the more they will understand.

In conclusion, JR is attempting to show representations of the real inhabitants of the world to deliver the message that what is projected through the mass media is not always true. Focusing on bringing art to “improbable places, in order to create projects so huge with the community that they are forced to ask themselves questions” people can change the world as “what we see, changes who we are” (JR 2011).

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Commercialization ‘Kills’ Street Art

One can argue that street art is not how it used to be, that it has lost its power of communication because people are ranking the works even in the streets and the art form’s commercialization is responsible for this. Taking advantage of the unclear laws around the rights of an artist towards his/her works; many people make use of it applying to their power. The examples presented above help confirm the fact that commercialization of street art does affect the artists and their value at the art market.

Street art makes the prices on the buildings increase without any economic reason. In one letter published in Firat and Kuryel (2011), a person states:

My brother and me were born here and have lived here all our lives, but these days so many yuppies and students are moving here that neither of us can afford to buy a house where we grew up anymore. Your graffiti’s are undoubtedly part of what makes these [people] think our area is cool. You are obviously not from around here, and after you have driven up the house prices you will just move on. Do us a favor and go do your stuff somewhere else like Brixton (p. 57).

It is unacceptable in the current economic conditions. The prices on the real estate must be based on specific rules and tendencies on the society, not on the basis of street art, which is not returned to the artist. Big brands are taking control of the pieces of famous street art artists to make money in the streets. A lot of street artists are working in collaboration with these companies, but I believe that in that case, it is not called street art anymore. They are taking the technique used in street art to copy it, but it is not considered as a piece of art.


Modern governors do not really understand graffiti because they think nothing should exist unless it makes profit. I came up with this opinion after the research on the street art projects and had an understanding of the modern situation in the world. The companies that put giant slogans across the buildings truly deface our neighborhoods. All the advertisements in the streets give you no choice to see it. Why should the street artists have to ask for permission? Street art makes a “statement against Western ideas of capitalism and private property” (Martinez 2014). Graffiti and street art are a reflection of the uncensored world, what people in the communities really think and believe in. As Jeff Ferrell states “graffiti writing breaks the hegemonic hold of corporate/governmental style over the urban environment and the situations of daily life” (Werwath 2006).

In conclusion, street art is a practice that criticises our institution and helps create and support a more collective critical capacity opposing to the dominant cultural forces, such as museums, and mass marketing strategies. These artists use the cities’ walls illegally and make them their own forums of expression. As seen in Banksy, JR and many other artists’ works, street art is a critique to the modern city and the mentality that comes with it. They want to encourage the public to notice power structures that create society’s norms and the fact that street art is booming, it helps spread that message. The street art movement has not only become more relevant than ever, but it is also a defining expression of our times — a new age of uncertainty and shifting values.

According to the supports of the past ideas and traditional approaches, something basic is lost after commercialization of street art. Many people are sure that the frequencies in street art and very fast appearance of the new peace ruin the power of the message artists deliver. Without the recognition of American graffiti and street art by the art world and its galleries in the early 80s, the phenomenon may not have spread around the globe to the same extent. However, the popularity of street art is rising. Some people may agree, and others may disagree, but personally I love it. I think it adds colors and diversity of opinions in otherwise boring landscape. I believe that street art is an art movement that originated in the streets and is now progressing outside of these boundaries as more people appreciate it. It is the beginning of the evolution/revolution, and slowly more rules will start appearing or not – maybe, this whole debate fits perfectly in the image street art has – maybe, the fact it is so critiqued and questioned adds to its image and works in its favor.

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