Uncapped: The Great Debate of Street Art vs. Graffiti [INTERVIEW]

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 at 5:05 am by

Photo Courtesy of ZC

Another Uncapped alum, ZC One:

Would street art exist if graffiti never existed?

Yes, simply because street art is a gentrified name for graffiti.

Who’s to blame for the cultural shift?

The term street art is a “hip” term simply given because the term graffiti has far too many negative connotations associated with it. As the streets began to get cleaned up, and the demographic shift began, the graffiti murals still represented a part of the city that could never really be erased. It was still “cool” to see the artwork in various neighborhoods.The cultural shift is really gentrification and only privatized and guarded funding could be possible sources for the cultural shift. However, it has been a sense of a quiet hostile takeback of different neighborhoods throughout the city.

Will it shift back to the days of the train era and all city bombing?

All City bombing has never really stopped. Different artists around the city not only use conventional ways of “getting up,” but also use stickers, wheat paste, and other methods. I still see clean train bombing somewhat active in the city. I recently read an article about artists coming from Europe simply to hit the NYC subway system. Also, there has been an active surge in tunnel bombing, which was not as widespread years ago.

Can you do both? Can you bomb box trucks, but still sell canvases, sculptures and prints?

Some artists do, while others do not.  Some artists still remain active to the street code and have their artwork available for sale. Many artists are recognized at the gallery level or greater simply because they were active on the streets.

I wanted to add that the street art that is growing rapidly details the skills that graffiti writers use and once again breaking into the commercial level. Graffiti has always been a source for sheer creativity and street artists that have a similar skill look to have their art at massive sizes, or communicate similar messages.  These artistic characteristics are very similar to the graffiti artist that has always done the same. Many areas that are experiencing a cultural shift will still have graffiti mixed in. I would not be NYC without it. There are hardly any areas throughout the city that do not restrict the community around them from the voice of street art. Interestingly so, the elements of graffiti are embedded within that art form. Knowing this, we really can not suggest it’s newness yet, it is hip to today’s generation of artists and artist followers.

Well, there you have it. Looks like a consensus will nary exist amongst the fold. As for me, my opinion is gospel and I say if you have talent, congratulations! Use it in whatever way you see fit (as long as no historical structures are damaged in the process). Thank you to everyone who contributed. Stay tuned for round two of the debate with Uncapped. Bless up!

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