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Graffiti and Street Art

Agosto 2013
Una vera e propria arte nata negli anni ‘70 in America. Certo, gli artisti non sono quelli che si limitano a imbrattare muri con semplici “tag”, anche se tutto nacque così... Per avere un’idea della vera street art: andate a Bristol, la città natìa di Banksy!

di Robin Newton © British Council

File audio:

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

Modern graffiti began in big cities in the United States in the 1970s. In New York young people wrote their names, or “tags,” in pen on walls around the city.
One of the first “taggers” was a teenager called Demetrius. His tag was TAKI 183. He wrote his tag on walls and in stations in New York. Other teenagers saw Demetrius’ tag and started writing their tags, too. Soon there were tags on walls, buses and trains all over New York.


Then, some teenagers started writing their tags with aerosol paint. Their tags were bigger and more colourful. Aerosol paint graffiti became very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s and 2000s, a lot of graffiti artists started painting pictures. Some were about politics; other artists wanted to make cities beautiful, and painted big, colourful pictures.


In some countries, writing or painting on walls is a crime. Sometimes graffiti artists have problems with the police. In other countries artists can draw and paint in certain places. In Taiwan there are “graffiti zones” where artists can paint. In São Paulo in Brazil some tourists visit the city just to see the street art! In Bristol in the UK there is a street art festival in August every year. Lots of people come to watch the artists paint all the buildings in a street.


Some street artists have become famous. Os Gemeos, twin brothers from Brazil, have painted big, colourful pictures of people on buildings and even a castle in Scotland! Blek le rat, from Paris, is famous for pictures of homeless people. You can find the work of Faith 47, from Cape Town, on pavements, postboxes and buses.


Many street artists now use the Internet to look at photos of street art from around the world. They communicate with other artists online and share ideas. Some are so famous you can see their pictures in art galleries in Paris, London and Los Angeles.

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