Whether we like it or hate it, street art is an important part of the identity of cities all around the globe, as it can help shape and define the sense of community and personality of a metropolis. There are many cities that already offer “street art tours” as graffiti and urban expression have already become relevant touristic attractions. Therefore, we cannot deny that this type of art is loaded with social, political, touristic, and even economic value, just like it happens with the work of Banksy, one of the most popular and sought after street artists of the century.
One of the most important reasons why street art is an essential part of a city is because it stands for freedom and creativity. It is through art that we get to communicate our ideas, to express our emotions, and to effectively connect with others. Therefore, a city that is rich in street art can be seen as an active, free, and creative city, one that values the voice of its inhabitants and foster their expression through the means they choose. Besides, street art also promotes diversity, which also enriches a city, as it reveals and represents the different groups that create a community.
For street art lovers, mystery and intrigue are some of the most attractive elements of encountering a mural, a piece of graffiti, or a stencil on a wall. Art is all about asking questions, and street art tends to be challenging, inviting not only art lovers but all people in general to question the meaning, to wonder about how the process was done, and to imagine who could possibly the author be. Since street art is intriguing and mysterious, it invites any passerby to develop their imagination while they learn to see their surroundings from a different perspective, too.
At its core, street art is a tool that carries plenty of social and political value being influenced by the context that surrounds artists, regardless of the city where they live. As a result, street art can say a lot about the current situation of the area, community, city, or country where it appears, and it is often used as a way to bring attention to current issues. Street art is a peaceful way to protest against social and political injustice, and often times artists make use of this powerful tool to make their voice heard, which is also an important part of any city.
We should not forget that, besides the social and political meaning behind it, street art makes cities and streets more colorful, which means that inhabitants of an area rich of urban art are more likely to experience happiness and joy. Also, it can make their commute much more interesting, since street art is temporary, and what has been on a given wall for months or years, is likely to disappear from one day to another. When this happens, commuters and pedestrians might be surprised with the next piece, adding a touch of color and inspiration to a journey that would otherwise be gray and boring.