Street Art: Why it’s culturally enlightening

…Yes, I quite enjoy street art. However, let me just stress that it’s street art and not graffiti I’m talking about …because there is a difference! While both are created in public places and no doubt represent powerful forms of art used to convey specific messages, I argue that there is a lot more thought behind street art than graffiti. Because, generally speaking, while graffiti involves instant writings and/or drawings with spray paint on location, street art involves beforehand made products brought to a location for set-up – be it produced with spray paint, stencils, wheat-pasted, stickers, installations or sculptures etc. As a result, I argue that street at represents well-thought messages.






Although street art is often associated with vandalism maybe even gangs or misfits of society, it represents messages often related to societal, political, environmental etc. issues in a culture. As such, it represents culture through writings and drawings with bold statements, metaphors and images – all to convey important messages of street artists. These messages may not always be understood by the audience, nevertheless, there is a message behind the art – and that’s exactly what fascinates me! Therefore, when I’m out and about – especially in foreign countries – I like to explore this part of a culture as well. Not only is street art telling of a society’s culture, there are lessons to learn about a society’s culture from street art.

Banksy - Global WarmingBanksy - Isreal

A particular street artist whose work I follow is Banksy from England. His work is characterised by satire and dark humour and is rooted in societal, political and environmental issues. Moreover, he doesn’t just focus on national issues in England and the UK. No, he travels around the world and creates street art abroad in order to illuminate foreign affairs and issues as well. His latests work is Dismaland in England – a temporary project, unfortunately now closed, which received quite the headlines in news papers around the world. He, namely, indirectly – yet very directly – commented on certain societal and political issues through various means of methods such as installations and sculptures.

Dismaland 1Dismaland 2




In this sense, needless to say that I find it extremely important for people to be involved in their society – and not just their national, however, also international society. I’m not only talking politics, I’m talking culture (among others defined as a society’s norms, beliefs and behaviour). For so many reasons (globalisation and mass consumption being the main ones), I find it important to participate in the development of our world. No one can deny how interrelated the countries of the world increasingly are. Hence, as world citizens, I believe it’s our duty to somehow make a contribution and take responsibility for our own (and our nation’s) actions – to better the world. Ironically, this is exactly why I find street art amazing: It enlightens certain cultural issues to respond to. And whether you approve of street art or not approve, there is no doubt that talented and gifted street artists have the power to illuminate important cultural issues in society. Don’t you agree? Or what do you think of street art?

xo P!


Pictures of Dismaland, the Israeli Wall 
 and Global Warming
 Google’s search engine

14 thoughts on “Street Art: Why it’s culturally enlightening

  1. Pernnille, I want to thank you for opening my eyes. To be completely honest, I’ve never lived in a big city. Only visited. Even then, art (graffiti or street) was not something I look for, nor thought much of, but I think you have a point. I think it says a lot about the culture. What people try to say, how they say it. Those are important factors in a message and the culture portraying that message, because two cultures may say the same thing, but will say it in different ways. Those subtle hints are important. My eyes have been opened. I’m heading to Chicago this weekend and I want to try and find some of this ‘street art’ to determine if I can better understand my own culture, as well as cultures of others. ^.^

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  2. I have seen some amazing murals and street art both here in Melbourne and on my travels. Similarly I’ve also seen a lot of mindless graffiti. And there really is a huge difference. Thanks for a very thoughtful posy.

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    • I couldn’t agree more with you! It’s always all about perspective, as I’ve written quite a lot about here on my blog. However, some kinds of art are more arty, if you follow? They are more accepted as art and, furthermore, therefore also perceived as art. So what I hoped to stress with this post is exactly what you said: “Art is all around us” – even street art, which is not generally perceived as ‘obvious’ art. Quite on the contrary.

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  3. For years I had a girlfriend who produced art. We visited many exhibitions around Europe and some in the US. Street art however remained in the background. And you have to have your eyes open for it. I live in Vietnam now and there is little of it here. But you did remind me of its power and potency.

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  4. Street art, or even street performers, seem to serve a special service. Like when we are all busy going about our daily lives, work, school, what have you, you may see a sculpture made out of trash in the corner of your eye, or a guy just playing a guitar next to the subway. They are nice little reminders that we are still human, and have more purpose that just the ‘daily grind’.

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