White Paper- Jodi Dziedzic

1) The topic background: Street art, also known as “post graffiti,” is a hybrid form of old school vandalism. Graffiti is known for its typical style of handheld aerosol spray paint tagging, whereas street art goes beyond the boundaries and becomes more expressive and experimental. Common forms of street art include stenciling, stickers, large scale posters adhered by wheat paste, or hand painted images. The street art lifestyle is an underground world of law breaking artists, expressing a notion, an opinion or just displaying their own name in an environment that the public can interact with. Although, some modern day street artists have gained massive amounts of popularity and are finding their ways into galleries and museums.

2) My working thesis: Street art and graffiti are environmentally based types of art. This art is only as effective when it is placed in a specific environment, because it’s intention is to work with the environment as a whole. The act of creating graffiti and street art is sometimes just the message within itself; breaking the law, reaching obscene heights or even just displaying something so controversial. Removing graffiti and street art from it’s environment and placing it in an art gallery is wrong.

3) Counterintuitive note: Someone caught creating street art, doing graffiti or tagging public or private property can be charged with vandalism, malicious mischief, trespassing, etc. These artists knowingly go up against the law to display their art for the public to see (whether it be for the intention of publicity or commentary.) This form of art is extremely individualized, dangerous and expressive. Recreating graffiti or street art to be displayed and (or) sold in a gallery setting is contradictory of the intent that the art naturally holds.

4) Topics for smaller papers:

Sometimes a street artist that originates from the streets and becomes big is considered a “sell-out.” Shepard Fairey, an extremely well-known street artist and clothing line designer is now considered “big time,” because he went further than just restricting his art to the streets and sells stickers in corporate clothing stores for people to buy and spread the word of his brand. Fairey transformed from a small artist to a celebrity.

Although to any anti-establishment artist, entering the world of gallery art could be considered “selling out,” it is extremely beneficial for the artist. Even though the work is visible to anyone in the streets, going into galleries will earn the artist even more fans. Going bigger is good for the artists name and earning money for materials to create more work.

5) Current state of the research paper: My research has been interesting thus far, because people seem to be indifferent as to whether or not street art should remain in the streets. Also, the artists are unsure as well if they would like to sell their designs. I intend to find more scenarios where street artists sell their work in galleries and use that to fuel more argumentation. Also, the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” a documentary on the underground world of street art, is inspiring to learn more about street artists who refuse to give up their identity yet allow their work to go global.

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5 Responses to White Paper- Jodi Dziedzic

  1. jpassalacqua says:

    I know I have mentioned this before to you, but maybe take a look at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. A lot of the “old school” graffiti found in Philadelphia was put there by gangs or politica activists trying to mark their territory or protest against “the man.” Instead of the city simply painting over the pieces with a solid blank color, murals were painted over top to keep the art active in the city, and give artists opportunities to work on a much larger, much more legal, scale that keeps the art alive, but keeps the artists work outside of a gallery, while still giving them credit for their work.

  2. adkins70 says:

    Great topic Jodi. It is one that i am personally interested in due to my own work as a street artist as well as an artist trying to profit from my work. I hope that in the end you decide that street art has its place in art galleries for the right reasons.


    What about the street artists that have, or seem to have, used street art as a form of advertising rather? Did Shepard Fairey’s brand come before his street art? I personally started street art as a form of advertising, but evolved into using it for the purpose of lightening the moods of others. Is it possible that some other street artists use it for the same reasons as myself or Fairey? Are commissioned murals street art or fine art? And what about “artists” that simply tag their name or sign to “claim territory”?

    Street artists are aware that their art is meant for everyone to see, but does that justify their vandalizing of public/private property? Does that make the art the property of the owner of the property tagged? Does all art not belong in galleries?


    Is street art the same as stealing a canvas from Michaels and using it for a painting? Is is then Michaels’s property or the artist’s? Does the message of doing the art not suffice? Must the art be seen by everyone? Does it matter how notorious the street artist is?


    Is Shepard Fairey still considered a street artist? Does his notoriety justify his over-priced clothing line? What is his message anymore? If he started out as being against the people in power of government or business that influences people, then is he not a hypocrite? Should the street art community ostracize him for his actions?

    If more money from sales could help more street art be created, then why should street artists not sell their work? Why should street artists not sell their work if it could mean reaching a larger audience to express themselves to those people? What if Andy Warhol never sold art? Would he have been as influential or notable? Doesn’t fame only spread an artist’s message even further?

    If the artist stays anonymous, like Banksy, is he more respectable than Fairey? Doesn’t money just encourage artists to create art? Is that a bad influence? Would art even exist if it was not a form of revenue?


    I’m stoked to see this paper fleshed out and how the research affects your opinion.

  3. rickc1030 says:

    You raise a really interesting point Jodi. The act of creating street art is specifically for the viewing of people on a daily basis, not hanging in some museum or being sold at an auction especially not without the artist permission. The idea of owning a piece of work is that you’re accredited with its creation. I would say to probably focus on that point of the rights and wrongs of taking another’s work and making money off it without the creators knowledge, and I feel what makes it counterintuitive is that this work of art that’s being sold is considered illegal. Wouldn’t that mean that the auction dealing our work is breaking the law? Overall I think you have a great idea going for this paper! Best of luck!

  4. clarkn92 says:

    I really like your topic and I am very interested in learning more about street art. Im guessing that a small amount of people know much about street art so I think that your topic is very intriguing.

    1. The background of street is really cool. I think that it is important for you to include many facts regarding street art and “post graffiti” for those who do not know much about it. I like how you wrote about the different forms of street art and street artists. Putting this much background information or maybe even more is very important for a paper and I think that you did a good job researching the facts so far.

    2. I really like your thesis for the paper. I think that many people will find it surprising how street artists view their art as a way to change society rather than becoming famous. I think that including your opinion into the paper is very important. If you give examples of different street artists and stories regarding their art, your opinion may change others opinions. I really do like your thesis but I also think that it can be less broad.

    3. I completely agree with your counterintuitive note. You question whether art should be sold when it is not meant for people to have. I like where you are going with where the art should be (in the streets or in someone’s home.) I think that if you specify the questions you are trying to answer, then your paper will be very good.

    4. I find it interesting how street artists can be considered “sell-outs” when they become famous or well known. I think that this is a good idea to focus on when writing smaller papers and including this in your thesis.

    5. I think that your paper will be very good. If you narrow down your topics and your thesis then you will have a great paper. Your thesis is already very interesting and the only thing that is needed is the facts to prove it.

  5. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Jodi! I love the idea of underground or illicit art meant for the streets and illegal even to create being championed by critics, co-opted, promoted by agents, and exhibited in galleries. It’s not a new phenomenon, exactly. Whenever the art world suffers a bit of anemia and nothing conventional and new commands our attention, art experts “discover” something vital and essential, don’t they? Naive or folk art produced by artists with no formal training might suddenly be the rage, for example. Or the output of diagnosed schizophrenics. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see chunks of wall removed from the street and brought into the galleries when the art academies suffer a lull. The art world demands fresh product wherever it comes from.

    That need to fill galleries does produce those amazing moments of incongruity in gallery patrons, of course, when we’re confronted with stuff that never intended to be indoors. You don’t have to work very hard to explain the counterintuitivity of graffiti inside the museum. Just imagine if the same artist tried to reproduce his masterpiece on the outside wall of the same museum. He’d be arrested and jailed on the spot. But after his genius is proclaimed by critics, the same work could be sold for millions once it’s displayed inside.

    Just keep the oddity of that contradiction alive in your mind while you read on your topic and remember: long after the phenomenon starts to seem reasonable to you, it will still strike your readers as joltingly counterintuitive.

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