Street art is practised in many ways and on different levels of style, technique and skills. Without attempting any in-depth
analysis– many later on – for me at least there is a difference between the large, legal murals who use an assigned wall as a arbitrary canvass disregarding the context of place, and on the other side works either designed for a specific spot or at least put up in a spot to communicate as a part of the larger street context.
This communicative aspect is for me the core of street art – and possibly, why the transition to galleries is so difficult for many. The dialogue is what makes it interesting. The transforming capacity of street art rests her. Whereas all art has the ability to sharpen the critical competence for wonder and change, street art combines this with the outreach element of surprise and exposedness. Street art can change the habitual views of public space and thus remake a place.
Public space is produced in a physical manner by planners, architects and builders, but they are given meaning by the people who use them. These meanings arise out of individual responses to the environment, often aggregated up to collective notions of a place. In the process of social interpretation, street art may enhance, hide, or change the original meaning of places. More than just being an image, street art is integrated as part of the city fabric.
In this perspective, street art is not so much understood in its own right – as a piece of art. Street art is rather a contributing factor to the general sense of place. Here – as in other aspects, like that of territoriality and protest – an approach to street art by way of social science is far more fruitful than that of art criticism.