Global Street Art: The Street Artists and Trends Taking Over the World

Global Street Art: The Street Artists and Trends Taking Over the World

by Lee Bofkin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770854857
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 11/21/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 315,446
Product dimensions: 9.70(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lee Bofkin is the co-founder and CEO of Global Street Art, a unique artist-led street art channel that holds the largest online street art photo archive. He holds a PhD in evolutionary mathematics from Cambridge.

Table of Contents


    A Very Brief History of Graffiti and Street Art
    Global Breakdown
    Movements and Themes
    Spaces and Surfaces
    Concrete Canvas
    Index of Artists



The beauty of street art is that it teaches you to look at spaces not for what they are but for what they could be. Every day thousands of artists around the world make their art in spaces designed for altogether different purposes: an abandoned factory in the outskirts of Lisbon becomes a hidden gallery visited by only a handful of people each week; a New York fence, designed to exclude the public, becomes an ideal support for lengths of yarn, strung into elegant letters; the outside of a passenger train in Rome turns into a rolling canvas for those who are daring enough to paint it.

In the past 50 years, society has moved from regarding graffiti as a public nuisance and a menace to embracing elements of the scene, with street art and graffiti festivals celebrated around the globe, and some municipalities waking up to the possibility that these new types of muralism can beautify their cities.

In this book I look at how street art can be seen all over the world; the historical reasons behind street art developing as a distinct form -- separate to gallery-based art -- and how this should affect our perception of street art; the current trends in its production; and the curation of public space and the impact this is having. It's no exaggeration to say that cities which support street artists, or react less punitively against their actions, will have better opportunities for developing city identities, and engaging local communities and tourists alike.

Street art and graffiti have intermingled with and influenced each other, and will continue to do so in the future. Artists who are now recognized as street art pioneers often have backgrounds as graffiti writers or were influenced by graffiti, if only through a desire to do something different. The breaking of rules and cultural constraints was what originally led to the growth of graffiti; today, it is the breaking of artistic constraints that prevents creative stagnation. Narrow definitions of street art and graffiti do not constrain the artists' work and neither do they constrain the position of this book.

In the following pages there are examples of both street art and graffiti; some of the best art is produced when different ideas combine and street art and graffiti are both powerful forces for changing the appearance of our cities.

Some of the artists featured in this book think of themselves as street artists, graffiti artists or graffiti writers; others choose to be 'artists' without further qualification. There is no single terminology to cover all perspectives. What I will say is simply that all the artists featured in this book produce great work that is often outside: outside of the studio, outside of the commercial gallery system, and sometimes outside of the law.

There are so many artists active today that I would estimate that the amount of street art and graffiti produced around the world each weekend could fill all commercial galleries at least once over, and then again the following weekend.

This book was written and compiled to honour the thousands of artists who paint our cities around the world. It is not a complete guide to the most fashionable street artists or the most commercially successful; it is, however, a selection of stunning contemporary street art from across the globe, showing the breadth of artistic diversity through relevant work.

Curating this book has been an exhausting pleasure. I started the process by selecting one thousand favourite photographs from Global Street Art's own 70,000-photo archive spanning 25 countries (I took most of those pictures). I then added some of the best photographs shared on our blog and tried to contact every artist whose work was featured in the photos. I trawled through Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, website contact forms, paint shops, blogs and friends, working in seven or eight different languages and using translation programs to track the artists down and make sure they were happy to be featured. The results are visible in the following pages and I am tremendously grateful to the more than 300 artists who agreed to have their work represented in the book.

When I travelled around the world taking photos for this book I made friends with many artists and didn't get killed: two things that make me very happy. This book is quite academic because I'm a geek and I really believe in painted cities. To add some levity there are stories about wild dogs, train tunnels and massive freaking guns.

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