Street Art: Art for the public

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Street art, also known as graffiti art, is a visual art created in public locations usually unsanctioned and executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.
In other words, street art is graffiti taken beyond its “tagging” purposes and given artistic value.  It goes beyond spray paint and stencils, although they are the preferred supplies for some artists.
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Danny Martin installation in Tucson, AZ

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The term “street art” gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations.  Video projection, yarn bombing and Lock On sculpture became popularized at the turn of the 21st century.

It has become a form of “free art” – free because marketing is not involved.

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Painted freight door in downtown Tucson.

Artists who choose the streets as their gallery are often doing so from a preference to communicate directly with the public at large, free from perceived confines of the formal art world.   Street artists sometimes present socially relevant content infused with aesthetic value, to attract attention to a cause or as a form of “art provocation.”

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Politically directed street mural in downtown Tucson, AZ

Banksy, perhaps one of the most famous street artists, was one of the first to showcase his art globally and anonymously.  His art is simple and very much in touch with current events.
Banksy - part of the "Better Out Than In" installment

Banksy – part of the “Better Out Than In” installment

Banksy even directed the 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, where an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur filmmaker attempts to locate and befriend him.  The film has a comedic effect but it delivers its main point in showcasing the importance of graffiti art and artists in this day in age.
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5Pointz – uniting aerosol artists from across the globe

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Small part of 5Pointz in Queens, New York

Long Island City in Queens, New York was home to the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center Inc. and outdoor art exhibit where aerosol artists from around the globe painted colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000 sqft factory building.
The name 5Pointz signifies the five boroughs coming together as one but, because of its reputation as an epicenter of the graffiti scene, the industrial complex has actually united aerosol artists from across the world.
Unfortunately, 5Pointz was painted over in 2013 and turned into a residential project.
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The rules of 5Pointz in NYC

Here in Tucson, AZ – where ArtFire’s headquarters are located – street art has reached its walls, not in the scale of New York City but around the Historic Warehouse Arts District and the University of Arizona area.
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Tucson muralists: (left to right) Titus Castanza, Donovan White, Rock Cify Martinez, Ed Muren III, Danny Martin, and Ruben Urrea Moreno

The art scene in Tucson has gained some momentum in the past couple years, some local artists have even gained local fame and their distinctive art styles can be recognized just by a glance. Tucson has always been a hub for artists and creative minds alike, it’s filled with culture and at times controversy, but all in all a town filled with inspiring locales.
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Downtown Tucson graffiti art

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Tucson, AZ

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5Pointz in NYC

Downtown Tucson murals

Downtown Tucson murals

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Tucson, AZ

How is the street art in your city? Tell us in the comments below!

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