Graffiti art is a movement that can be traced back to New York in the 1970s. It was named after the spray-can vandalism common in most cities in the world but most associated with the New York subway system. 

The purpose of graffiti art is self-expression and creativity and can involve highly stylised letterforms drawn with markers, or cryptic and colourful spray paint murals on walls, buildings, and even freight trains. Graffiti artists strive to improve their art, which is constantly changing and progressing.

In the early 1980s, the combination of a booming art market and a renewed interest in painting resulted in the rise of a few graffiti artists to art-star status. Jean-Michel Basquiat, a former street-artist known by his "Samo" tag, and, Keith Haring a professionally-trained artist who adopted a graffiti style, were two of the most widely recognized graffiti artists.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the writer's Cost and Revs were the first to use new techniques that were to be a new form of graffiti, Post-Graffiti is also known as Street Art. These participants use stencils, posters, stickers and installations to spread their art illegally in the streets. Since the 90s, Banksy, Faile, D*Face and Bambi are some of the emerging artists to revolutionise this movement and continue to bring it out in the open, however, graffiti art is still illegal in most forms in most capitalist countries worldwide.

Graffiti art has a large role to play in the movement of socially conscious art. Since it first evolved, Graffiti and Street Art has remained controversial, often breaking boundaries via its explicit nature. Uncensored, unapologetic and simultaneously humorous, many of the most renowned artworks make a powerful comment on political issues of their time, and graffiti can make a huge impact in this respect. 

Bold colours, shapes and patterns are key features of this art form, and when artists let their imaginations run wild, the result instantly transforms drab spaces into places people are excited to be seen. At artrepublic, you'll find the artworks that have both the raw-energy of a street-piece and the intention and finish of a studio work.

Check out our collection of curated graffiti prints here.