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Street Art Terms you Need to Know!

Street Art Terms you Need to Know!

Street art is literally everywhere – it’s all over the world, and some cities are famous in and of themselves for their street art. Street art has even entered the realm of museum and art gallery exhibitions, and a renowned street artist can make a lot of money if they sell their pieces.

Do you want to know more about the ins and outs of urban art?

Here are some street art terms you’ll want to know…


This term is a simplification of “masterpiece”. It is used to describe street art that is more complex, featuring at least three different colors and requiring a high level of work to complete.


Refers to a piece of work that is “hot”; so good that it’s “burning off the wall”.


Street art at its most simplistic. A tag is a signature that is stylized; usually completed freehand with marker or aerosol paint. People who tag are called “bombers”; tagging is not generally highly respected in the realm of street artists.



A character is another form of signature. It is unique to its artist and may be realistic or cartoonish. Some street artists borrow their signature characters from mainstream media, but others are more creative and devise their own that are entirely original.


A mural is an enormous piece of street art, and may be created by a single artist or a group (or “Crew”) working collaboratively. It may show a single large scene, or depict a series of either standalone or connected characters and images to tell a story.



This is street art created with a roller brush. Using a roller brush with a long handle allows for greater reach on the part of the artist; most of these pieces include block letters, phrases, and some have intentional paint drips or drop shadows as an intrinsic part of the design.

Legal Walls

Street art is no longer seen as just vandalism, and as such, there are property owners and local governments that allow artists to use designated public spaces as their canvas. These houses, buildings, walls and other spaces are referred to as “legal walls”. Hence graffiti becomes public art, allowing artists to work in the open, taking time to master their creations, and being seen to enhance rather than destroy a space.


This term refers to a tagging style of interlocking letters and symbols; it is elaborate and complicated, and usually only other taggers can read the actual word.



This is a form of street art creation whereby a design is cut into paper or cardboard, then spray painted onto the canvas (wall). The style was founded by street artist Blek le Rat in Paris in the 1980’s, and today its most famous artist is arguable Banksy.

Wheat Paste

Wheatpaste is an adhesive medium made from flour and water in equal parts. The art created with it is created in three phases: an area of a wall is covered with the paste, and then a previously created poster, photo, painting or drawing is smoothed over the top of the wheatpaste. When wrinkles and any bubbling have been removed, another layer of wheatpaste is spread over the top of the image.



An installation is a work that is site-specific, and may be temporary or permanent in nature. It may be an optical illusion, an altered street sign, sculpture that is three dimensional, or a stenciled scene that incorporates a real thing.

These are just some of the common street art terms used by artists around the world. To bring some street art into your daily life, check out United Streets of Art’s great range of inspired leather accessories from luggage tags, belts and credit card holders..we have it all!


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