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Why Is Stencil Graffiti so Popular?

Why Is Stencil Graffiti so Popular?

Street art is a great way for artists to draw attention to their artwork by creating it in public places for all to see. If successful, artists can catapult their success and make their work recognisable worldwide.

Stencil graffiti is a type of street art that has proven to be extremely popular. This is largely thanks to the famous works of artists such as Banksy, and Shepard Fairey who have helped this style of art become widely celebrated and mainstream due to the popularity of this street art style.

The visual storytelling of stencil graffiti captivates audiences from all around the world, with elements of urban expression and messages of anti-establishment at its core.

In this article, we will discuss what stencil graffiti is and why it is so popular among artists and audiences.

 

What is Stencil Graffiti?

Stencil graffiti is a technique that is used in urban street art. The method that is used to achieve this iconic street art style involves the use of stencils as templates. These can be made from plastic or cardboard.

The template is then applied to an area, often a wall, and is sprayed or painted over with paint or spray paint to leave the lasting stencil imagery once the stencil has been peeled away.

This type of street art is fairly similar to achieve with artists being able to prepare the stencil indoors, which allows them to quickly execute the artwork, allowing artists like Banksy to achieve their artwork quickly and remain a mystery.

Although this style of artwork is fairly easy and quick to execute, that does not mean it is any less impactful, as it often leaves a thought-provoking and long-lasting impression on the public that often gathers a lot of attention and fame when performed by famous street artists such as the iconic Banksy.

Banksy is always the prime and leading example of stencil street art, creating a narrative in his work on current affairs and captivating audiences worldwide.

 

Why Is Stencil Graffiti so Popular?

Stencil graffiti has gained a lot of popularity for many reasons. Here we discover some of the key factors as to why this art type is popular with artists and audiences.

 

Urban Vibe

Stencil graffiti fits well into an urban setting, transforming it from an ordinary urban space to a visually appealing place to visit and be in.

Stencil artwork adds bursts of colour and creativity to city walls, bus tops, alleyways, and other public spaces.

 

Cultural Impact

As mentioned previously, the rise of Banksy has undoubtedly played a significant role in popularising this type of art form.

Banksy has always produced thought-provoking and often humorous pieces, gaining attention globally and shining a spotlight on stencil graffiti street art as a whole and as a powerful artistic tool.

 

Intriguing with Depth of Meaning

Not only does stencil graffiti have bold contrasts, and clean lines that aesthetically appeal to audiences and captivate the eye, but this straightforward technique that is stencil graffiti and artwork holds layers of meaning and narrative.

Audiences become fascinated with the combination of visually appealing images and the deeper interpretations of messages embedded within the artwork.

 

Speed

Stencil graffiti is performed at speed and is effective too. Details and intricate designs can be achieved with a stencil.

If artists wish to create repeated work or over large areas, stencilling makes their work easy, quick, and consistent.

 

Relevant

Many stencil artworks convey powerful messages about current events. The relevance to real-world issues resonates with audiences. It also invites them to reflect on such matters and engage in conversations prompted by the stencil artwork.

 

Public and Accessible

Stencil art is typically displayed in public spaces, making it easily accessible to a wide audience.

This means that whether intentionally seeking the art or stumbling upon it, audiences of all kinds can engage with and admire it without the barriers of art galleries or museums.

 

Tourist Attraction

Stencil art often attracts tourists. Many people choose to visit popular graffiti areas, including the work of stencil graffiti art. Stencil art is often so popular that many choose to share it on social media or make it a topic of discussion.

This creates more of an active audience than a passive one, whether artwork is solely observed and that is it.

 

Bold

Stencil graffiti has a bold nature and features high-contrast images with clean lines and striking visuals. These features can instantly grab the attention of passersby. This makes it an effective medium for conveying messages.

 

Storytelling

Audiences are engaged by the storytelling nature of stencil graffiti, and artists like to tell their stories using this effective method.

 

Challenges the Norms

Stencil graffiti is emerging from underground and street cultures. This often resonates with a rebellious spirit that challenges norms. Audiences like art that breaks away from the mainstream, although, as a contradiction, the rise in popularity of stencil graffiti has made this art more mainstream over the years.

 

Final Note

Stencil graffiti has carved a unique path in the realm of street art. It has the ability to push boundaries, captivate audiences on a global scale, and raise awareness and conversation. There is no wonder that this art form has become so popular with the masses.

The famous work of Banksy continues to inspire many people and artists too, such as the work of Canadian artist iHeart, which has a similar style and theme to his famous example, ‘Nobody Likes Me’, which highlights the negative impacts of social media.

We continue to see the work of stencil graffiti artists shape conversations and perceptions in our world today, allowing many of us to view the world through a different lens.

Top 8 Famous Mural Artists

Top 8 Famous Mural Artists

Urban art murals can have a long-lasting effect on a city’s location. They have the power to change a location, boosting an area’s tourism and economy.

Murals can give identity to a city or location, and the history of wall murals dates back to the early era of graffiti artists in Philadelphia in the 1960s. The art of murals can raise awareness of important issues in society and politics while bringing people together in a sense of community.

They can unite people and bring tourism to areas where there was once none. Creating inspiration, sparking creativity, and granting liveliness to urban areas, there is not much not to love about murals and mural artists.

In this blog post, we will be taking a look at some of the top ten famous mural artists from around the world and admiring their work.

 

Top 8 Famous Mural Artists

Have a read of the most famous mural artists from across the globe and how they have shaped the art world, as well as the lasting impact that their art has left on a city or location.

 

1. Banksy

Starting things off with Banksy. One of the most popular and mysterious street artists in the modern world, Banksy’s work has grown to be very popular in the mainstream artwork that is found in museums and art galleries today.

There are too many iconic artworks created by Banksy to pick a favourite, all with such powerful messaging and imagery. ‘The Flower Thrower,’ for example, is symbolic due to its location and time as an anti-war image. The man in the artwork, wearing a balaclava and seemingly about to throw a bomb, is instead holding a bunch of flowers, which represents a strong message and appeal for peace and not violence.

This is just one of the many examples of Banksy’s eye-catching, iconic, and highly recognisable work.

 

2. Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is notable for being an American contemporary street artist emerging from the skateboarding scene and quickly becoming known for his graphic design and illustration work. This was built upon the big and famous Obey campaign. Fairey creates stickers along with posters that he plants in public spaces.

Shepard Fairey’s style is world famous, gaining recognition due to the 2008 U.S. presidential election ‘Hope’ poster. This is when Fairey’s profile shot up, and then later in 2014, he paid homage to South Africa’s most famous leader by creating an incredible mural.

 

3. Keith Haring

Keith Haring made a serious impression on the street art scene throughout the decades, from as early as 1958, drawing people’s attention a great deal by the early 1980s and through to 1990.

His career began when he could be found creating thousands of illegal drawings in chalk throughout the subway system of New York City.

Over the years, Haring’s figural and lively art, patterned with elements inspired by pop art and street art, has become one of the most recognisable street artworks on the scene today.

‘We the Youth’, created in 1987, is a famous piece of Haring’s that was painted to commemorate the bicentennial of the US Constitution, depicting a dancing figure painted with vibrant colours and outlined in black on a white background.

 

4. Dmitri Vrubel

Dmitri Vrubel was a Russian painter. He is most famously known for his mural piece on the Berlin East Side Gallery memorial wall, with the art mural ‘My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love’. This iconic and controversial piece depicts communist leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing. The mural piece was an interpretation of a photograph taken in 1979.

The ‘Deadly Love’ in the title could be referring to the ten-year military agreement that was put in place, which included chemical weapons.

The mural that Dmitri Vrubel created not only brought recognition to himself as an artist but is also a recognised image that is symbolic of the Berlin Wall and the city of Berlin itself. This mural in particular is one of the most recognisable among all of the artwork on the Berlin Wall.

 

5. iHeart

The Canadian street artist iHeart creates street art that is just as mysterious and has similarities to the work of Banksy. The work of iHeart expresses social issues using simple stencil-like imagery.

The famous street art piece is entitled ‘Nobody Likes Me’, which highlights the negative influence that social media can have on new generations, including children, as the art features a child crying due to receiving zero likes, comments, and follows on social media on the mobile phone that they have in their hand.

This piece was even shared by Banksy himself, and ironically, it went viral online.

 

6. Os Gêmeos, Blu

The mural collaboration in Lisbon, Portugal, was created by the duo Os Gêmeos and Blu. The Brazilian and Italian duo share their art mural, showcasing art of a political nature. The artwork shows imagery of the social impact on the environment due to global capitalism.

 

7. Jef Aérosol

Jef Aérosol is a French street artist whose work is celebrated and was created in 2011. The art mural ‘Hush!’ was created in 2011 and is an iconic piece. It can be found in Paris, near the Centre Pompidou.

In this famous artwork, the artist reminds viewers to take a moment of calm despite the buzzing city that surrounds the mural.

 

8. Eduardo Kobra

The ‘V-J Day’ by Eduardo Kobra can be found in Times Square, New York City. Many will recognise it from the famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, and the artwork portrays love, memory, and peace as the imagery is of an American sailor kissing his loved one after the US victory over Japan after the Second World War.

Exploring the Work of Abstract Street Artists

Exploring the Work of Abstract Street Artists

Abstract art has been around for a while. It is believed to have originated in Europe in the late 19th century but developed in the 20th century. This is thought to have happened due to a decline in the popularity and appreciation of realism in art.

Art of an abstract nature allows each piece and each artist to be unique. The work of Stony has twists of street art and abstraction, along with an overall urban and modern feel.

Read this blog as we explore and discover abstract street artists’ work and look into the different styles and forms that abstract art portrays in these artists’ works.

 

An Introduction to Abstract Street Art

Abstract art is very different from other types of street art. It is a contemporary art type that is not meant to represent images or text.

In most cases, we are used to seeing graffiti and street art in the form of tags and imagery of a striking and/or political nature on the sides of buildings and walls in urban areas.

Abstract art is a mixture of shapes, curves, forms, marks, colours, and tones. It does not attempt to represent something accurately but is more of a representation of something and therefore does not depict visual reality.

Abstract artwork is often associated with urban and new concepts, but in reality, it has existed since the graffiti era began.

 

The Difference Between Graffiti and Street Art

Street artists and graffiti artists are often referred to as the same thing. Some popular and well-known street artists and graffiti artists include the likes of Keith Haring, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy, to name a few popular examples.

This name confusion probably came from the fact that the type of art originally came from the same location – the street! This type of art has been popularised to the point where you can often find it in art galleries, museums, and other places of culture, as well as in the possession of avid art collectors.

Graffiti art has been present since the 1970s and was made famous by graffiti artists such as Cornbread. This point in history was when graffiti art was the language of protest against power and governments. Graffiti word art was a way of being heard and seen, establishing status, and/or marking territory.

Street art often has a theme and appeals to a more mainstream audience in this modern age, whereas ‘abstract graffiti’ is a concept that is contradictory. The moment graffiti loses its lettering and symbols, it is considered street art.

There are, however, many artists that have emerged over the decades that have succeeded in combining the two things or sitting on the borderline of these two art types, including producing abstract graffiti, making it a form of street art. The interesting work of abstract street artists is well worth admiring.

 

Exploring the Work of Abstract Street Artists

We often see street art as the type we are familiar with from the types and techniques mentioned above.

Abstract work tends to evoke techniques, different dimensions and textures, and geometric forms that allude to a reality that is up for interpretation.

When abstract art meets a wall as its canvas, something amazing happens, and it produces an incredible outcome.

 

Santiago Jaen Chan

Some of the talented abstract artists include Santiago Jaen in graffiti world, better known as ‘Chan’, who was born in Barcelona and is a self-taught urban abstract artist and also a graffiti writer. Chan’s abstract style mixes curves and shapes to portray energies of balance, movement, and calm.

Chan’s style is often influenced by the contemporary world and his personal style. His first mural was at The City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, a Barcelona hospital, where a varied composition brought art and culture together. The vibrant colours of Chan’s mural always bring joyful liveliness to an area of space.

 

Ruben Sanchez, ‘Zoonchez’

Ruben Sanchez, or ‘Zoonchez’, is well known for creating colourful abstract compositions with elements of intended balance. Zoonchez is a Spanish artist, but his large-scale public murals can be found in countries including Germany, France, Canada, Turkey, Sweden, Hungary, and the US.

Deriving from the world of skateboarding and graffiti, the work of this self-taught artist can be found to have a lack of symmetry and proportions, yet always with a vibrant colour palette and visual balance that gives off a Mediterranean vibe.

 

Rosh333

Rosh333’s work attracted the global urban art scene towards the end of the 1990s. His style experiments with shapes, colour, and texture and likes to develop complex schemes. Rosh333 gets inspiration from life, his experiences, and trips, as well as architecture and music.

 

SrGer

SrGer is a master of scribbling techniques, similar in chaos to the work of Stony in that his abstract work is unique with a creative personality. His abilities cover many different art types, including mural painting.

 

JM Yes

JM Yes transforms walls with abstract displays of colourful geometric shapes. You will find lines, colourful figures, and references to ancient symbolism and lettering.

 

Where to Find Abstract Street Art

A fantastic place to find abstract street art is Spain, more specifically in Madrid or Barcelona. There are many urban and cultural opportunities to view in these cities, with locations full of vibrancy, colour, and energy.

There are several locations where you can experience such amazing abstract street artists’ work, including graffiti walls and commissioned art. Such urban artwork makes for wonderful photo opportunities if you are in the area.

For Madrid, check out Lavapiés and Malasaña as they are the most hipster and therefore most popular for tourists, and they are only a 15-20 minute walk from the city centre. It is well worth a visit to see the range of artwork on the walls and take in the local culture.

A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

Once frowned upon and classified solely as a criminal act associated with crime and gangs, graffiti has come a long way over the decades. More and more people now appreciate the culture, styles, and message behind graffiti word art.

In this blog, we will be exploring the different styles of graffiti word art. You should recognise many of the graffiti styles as you will have experienced many of them in different cities, so read on to learn more.

 

Introduction to Graffiti

Graffiti is an artwork style that is created in public areas. It is usually painted on walls and other surfaces.

Graffiti art has developed over time and was originally done illegally, often to portray messages about status, to establish a reputation as an individual or gang in certain areas, or to express topics of politics, emotion, and self-expression.

Graffiti has always been intended for public viewing; back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, graffiti was frowned upon and seen as an act of vandalism and therefore a criminal offence.

Locations, where graffiti was present were often associated with other types of crime and were therefore viewed negatively, and the artwork received a bad reputation in local areas.

These days, since the rise in popularity of graffiti and street art in the 1990s and early 2000s. Graffiti is seen in a more positive light and recognised as its own art form. It brings boldness, brightness, and colour to an area and even boosts the community and local economies. Heavy graffitied areas are even popular tourist attractions in many cities across the world.

 

The Different Graffiti Word Art Styles

Graffiti has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Here we will look into the different styles of graffiti and graffiti word art.

 

Tags

Tag graffiti is where graffiti art started. This is the simplest form of graffiti and is used to establish status in an area or mark territory.

A tag in graffiti is a name, nickname, or symbol marked most commonly in spray paint in multiple areas. Some of the graffiti tag artists include the likes of TAKI 183 and Cornbread, these were some of the earliest taggers in New York City, and their work covered the New York subway system.

Tagging is probably the most commonly found graffiti type. It is seen as disrespectful to tag over an existing artist’s tag, and tags can be strategically placed.

 

Throw-ups

Throw-ups, otherwise known as ‘throwie’, are a type of graffiti word art that is an elevated form of tagging. This art has the same reason behind it but is created with bubble-style writing and incorporates more colours than basic tagging too.

A throw-up generally consists of a colour bubble outline with a fill colour. Throw-ups are also very common, like tags, and tag artists usually progress onto the throw-up style for a more elaborate and eye-catching version of their tag.

Throw-ups are a quick and simple way of creating a large-scale mark on a surface. Lots of examples of throwies can be found on the streets of Chicago.

 

Blockbuster

Blockbuster is a larger-scale graffiti word art type. They are essentially large murals of letters that are painted over a large surface area of a wall. The blockbuster graffiti style aims to cover as much wall space as possible in a short time. They are sometimes completed with paint rollers instead of traditional spray paint, as the surface area is much larger.

The lettering in blockbuster style is usually block-style lettering. The paint rollers that are often used to create this graffiti style can help create angles on the letters, which makes it easier to achieve while also saving the artist time.

 

Wildstyle

Wildstyle graffiti lettering is one of the most elaborate and advanced styles of graffiti word art. The lettering in wildstyle graffiti is so advanced that it makes it very difficult for the standard person to read. It contains many complex and intricate letters, spikes, arrows, and flares, featuring interlocking elements and many sharp edges that usually only other graffiti artists are able to read.

Like the blockbuster style, this style is done on a large scale and is very eye-catching. The decorative elements in this style merge together, and this style often includes bright colours too.

 

Heaven-spot

Heaven-spot or ‘heaven’ in graffiti refers to graffiti that has been done, usually somewhere high up and hard to reach and get to.

This style depicts daredevil behaviour, as the locations are often highly dangerous. The name of it comes from the fact that if you fall while attempting to create this graffiti, you are going straight to heaven.

Locations for heaven-spot graffiti can include the tops of high buildings, rooftops, overpasses, and road signs. These high-up spaces also make the artwork extremely difficult to remove.

Due to the danger attached to heaven-spot graffiti, it gains credibility from other graffiti artists.

 

Stencil

Stencil graffiti is a type that requires a stencil. It is made out of cardboard or other media that is then held against a wall and spray painted. This is a quick way of forming an image with clean lines and an effective payoff.

Stencil-style graffiti has made the biggest impact in bringing graffiti into the mainstream art world. The infamous Banksy has a huge part to play in this shift, as he gained fame from his stencil-style graffiti.

Stencilling is a great way of transmitting a message and often portrays imagery of a political nature.

 

Poster

Poster style, otherwise known as ‘paste up’, is a poster that is made at home and pasted up onto a wall. This method can be done quickly and easily.

A mixture of usually wheat flour and water is made for the paste; it acts as a very strong glue, which makes posters very hard to remove. This type is more recognised as street art than graffiti, as it moves away from lettering and more into imagery.

 

Sticker

Stickers are used as a simple way of spreading a message and establishing status in a location.

Stickers can even be used in replacement for tags, and some artists even draw their tags onto stickers and use the stickers instead, placing them around different areas in a community to establish the same effect as tagging.

Stickers style can also be known as ‘slap’ and artists can include elaborate designs as well as simple ones too.

The Different Types of Mural Painting Explained

The Different Types of Mural Painting Explained

Murals can be found in streets and cities. They are fantastic pieces of art that hold a lot of power in creating a certain energy and livening up a location. It is amazing what the power of paint and colour can do.

Bold and beautiful, wall murals come in a variety of styles and types, bringing with them a sense of community and beautifying urban settings while inspiring creativity amongst locals and visitors alike.

Murals can pay tribute to a particular person, event, or era in history; they play a big part in attracting tourists to an area and make fantastic photo opportunities for many people who enjoy them.

There are no limitations when it comes to murals and how creative artists can be with them, but in this blog, we will delve into the different types of murals that exist, along with the techniques that mural artists use to create these large-scale pieces of art.

 

What Is a Mural Painting?

A mural refers to a piece of artwork that is painted onto the surface of a wall or ceiling. It is, therefore, an oversized painting and is applied directly to the surface of the wall, ceiling, or other permanent surface.

As a mural is painted directly onto a wall or ceiling, it then becomes a part of that building and is considered a permanent feature of the wall.

There are different types of mural paintings and different types of techniques used to paint them.

 

The Different Types of Mural Painting Explained

Generally, three different types of murals exist. These three types of murals include photography, painted images, and abstract murals. Read more about these three types below.

 

Photography Murals

Photography murals are a great way to showcase your photography skills or photos that you really like. Photo murals can be created in multiple ways. Through single photos or an array of photos, art owners can celebrate their favourite photographs in a variety of ways.

Photography murals can be showcased on canvas, vinyl, aluminium, photo board, or even have photographs turned into wallpaper. A wallpaper photo mural can help show off photography on a unique wall, and it sticks straight to the wall, creating a mural instantly.

 

Painted Image Murals

Murals that are created in urban locations often feature recognisable images or painted scenery. Murals can be striking and feature icons in an area too.

Image murals are created for many purposes. Originally, murals were used to create beauty in an area; they can be used today for this, to make a political or social statement, or to record a historic event.

Image murals transform an area and catch people’s eyes and attention. They can turn urban areas with boring, dull walls into interesting places, that attract visitors, which otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Therefore, they have been known to transform an area, community, and space.

Great examples of locations that have come alive with the help of image murals include the likes of Shoreditch in London, or Berlin in Germany to commemorate the historic Berlin Wall’s remains, serving the area as a famous image gallery and open-air viewing that attracts many tourists.

An area’s local economy can be positively impacted by the use of murals.

 

Abstract Murals

Abstract murals are a good way of incorporating a modern and contemporary feature into a building or area. They can be as colourful and as bold as the artist likes.

Abstract murals can be done in one large piece or divided into smaller sections.

 

The Different Types of Mural Techniques

Modern-day contemporary murals can be created using a variety of techniques. The main types of techniques used to create murals include fresco, graffiti, mosaic, and marouflage. Here we will go into more detail about these different types.

 

Fresco

Fresco is a method of painting whereby paint is applied to wet plaster on a wall or ceiling and, when dry, becomes an integral part of the plaster and therefore the wall or ceiling too.

The word ‘fresco’ comes from the Italian word ‘affresco’ which means fresh. This method is an extremely durable way of painting, so it is fitting to be used in outdoor settings where murals are commonly found.

The paint is mixed with water and can be applied to plaster or mortar. Hours later, the pigment is absorbed. As the plaster dries, it reacts with the oxygen in the air and fixes the particles in the pigment to the plaster. This process is what allows the painting to stay in place for many years to come and even centuries, allowing the colours in the mural to stay vibrant and fresh, despite being outside and exposed to the elements and the damaging rays from the sun, which can usually cause paint to fade.

 

Graffiti

Graffiti is an art form that helps to portray many things, including people’s emotions, politics, self-expression, or characters. Graffiti is often carried out on walls in public spaces.

Graffiti art has played a big part in recent contemporary wall painting, with thanks to artists Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring, and ABOVE to name a few examples.

We have the 1990s to thank for the rise in popularity of graffiti art on walls. Stony’s artwork is heavily influenced by graffiti, due to its wild and chaotic nature, uniqueness, and wording.

 

Marouflage

Marouflage is a technique whereby a mural is created by attaching a painted canvas to a wall. The adhesive used in attaching will dry harder in the same way plaster does. This helps to create a permanent attachment to the wall as if the painting were painted directly onto the original surface.

 

Mosaic

Mosaic murals are not created using paint. Art is made in the style of mosaics by using tiny pieces of glass and other materials to create an image or pattern. The materials are attached to the walls with glue or cement.

 

Can Anyone Paint a Mural?

Someone who paints murals is called a muralist. Muralists will design and paint artwork on walls in communities and streets. They can even be commissioned to paint for businesses, zoos, cities, and hotels, to name a few examples.

Murals can be created on either indoor or outdoor walls and certainly have an impact wherever they are located.

You do not have to be a professional muralist in order to paint a mural, but having lots of painting experience and having the know-how and confidence to paint on a larger scale certainly helps.

The History of Graffiti Street Art

The History of Graffiti Street Art

The history of graffiti street art is fascinating, from the journey that it has been on to what it is viewed as today. From a frowned-upon act of crime to an admired and colourful enhancement to an area.

In this blog, we will take a look into the history of graffiti, how it all began, and the graffiti street art we know today. So read on to learn more.

 

Introduction to Graffiti Street Art – What Is It?

Graffiti street art is artwork that is performed and located in public locations. You can often find graffiti on walls, bridges, the sides of buildings, billboards, and other various flat surfaces or objects that are located in public spaces and that can be easily viewed.

Street art can also be referred to as urban art or graffiti and can be used to advertise or spread messages, particularly of a political nature. Street art can be used effectively to liven up spaces, bringing colour and brightness to an environment and thus making it more interesting.

Famous street artists have emerged from once creating art in the street to becoming household names in the art industry. Names like Banksy and Keith Haring were originally street artists; now their work can be found in a whole range of places, with collaboration deals with a range of different brands and labels. These names are widely recognised and are now considered mainstream when it comes to street art.

Stony’s artwork shows ties to street art, including the wording of personal quotes and mantras. Stony’s work was also a form of self-expression as he struggled to express himself with words due to his struggles with autism and dyslexia. The work of Stony ties heavily in with graffiti and street art because of the uniqueness of his art, along with the words and imagery being his self-expression to the world.

 

Graffiti vs Street Art – What’s the Difference?

The term ‘graffiti’ is usually referred to as a negative term when used singularly. It is also often word-based and done illegally without permission. Street art, on the other hand, is mainly image-based, can be a whole mural, and often includes lots of colours and images while being more figurative than graffiti.

However, most people often use the terms graffiti and street art interchangeably, with the middle wording being ‘graffiti street art’ or ‘graffiti art’, which basically refers to street art and not the illegal kind of graffiti.

Street art is intended for public viewing and, more often than not, conveys a message to the public, therefore making it engaging.

 

The Different Types of Street Art

Traditionally, street art was created using aerosol spray paint cans. Larger-scale street art today is created with the help of a cherry picker or scaffolding.

 

The History of Graffiti Street Art

It is hard to know just when graffiti started, as paintings were marked on walls back in the caveman days, dating back to 7000 BC, while modern-day graffiti street art has become an extremely popular way of creating art across many cities and urban locations.

Below we will discuss some of the key moments in street art history that helped define and shape the history and what graffiti street art is today.

 

Cornbread Starting the Tagging Movement

Some of the oldest graffiti-style art was created in the 1960s and 1970s by artist Darryl McCray, otherwise known as ‘Cornbread’ – his tagging name. It has been agreed that graffiti-style art was popularised in this era with the help of Cornbread’s work. This nickname came from his love for his grandmother’s cornbread.

The graffiti artist began his life in Philadelphia, and his work was found here and in New York City. He claimed to be the only person who would write his name on walls for the purpose of establishing a reputation for himself.

The tagging of Cornbread’s name continued to pop up throughout the city. One of the craziest places that he managed to graffiti was on the side of a real elephant at the Philadelphia Zoo. This stunt, unsurprisingly, landed him in prison but made him a known figure for years to come.

This sparked the pattern of more tagging popping up around neighbourhoods in New York City. Taki 183 was another artist who pioneered contemporary graffiti.

These two big names in the street art scene are responsible for shaping the street art movement, helping it become what it is today.

 

Vandalism and the 1980’s

The 1980s had to deal with an influx of crime and learn how to deal with it. New York City began to crack down on smaller crimes, such as graffiti. They recognised that if smaller crimes existed in an area, it encouraged more crimes to take place. Graffiti from this point in time until a few years later received a negative reputation.

However, this did not stop graffiti artists, it just encouraged more arrests due to the vandalism. It also prompted more people to create their work in the middle of the night to avoid being caught.

 

Modern Street Art Movement

Graffiti became popular due to a shift in the 1990s and early 2000s. This is when graffiti stopped being seen as an act of vandalism and began to be viewed as art and embraced by the public.

We have Keith Haring and Banksy to thank for a lot of this change. Haring’s work is instantly recognisable and has helped bridge the gap between street art and the public. The work of Keith Haring helped to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic, and people began to see the potential in street art due to its power to bring about change.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was another famous artist who received commissions to cover the sides of buildings with his work, bringing boldness and colour to urban spaces.

This change that was happening with graffiti street art over this time period meant it was not long before famous pieces were found in galleries across the world.

 

Modern-Day Street Art

Graffiti can be found in many cities around the world today. Some of the most famous street art that can be found today and is popular for tourists to view is located in:

  • Berlin
  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Paris
  • Melbourne

These are just some of the locations where you can find inspiring and eye-catching graffiti and street art. Showcasing history, artists’ work, politics, culture, and tags.

There are certainly many locations where you can find some amazing street art, from local to internationally famous artists. One thing is for sure, we definitely have the history of graffiti and street art evolution to thank for the inspiring and strongly messaged graffiti street art that exists and that we can view publicly today.

The beauty of street art is that it was always intended to be viewed publicly, whether it was to establish authority over an area, establish a presence, or send a message to others. This public nature of street art still exists today, enjoyed by communities and visitors everywhere and enhancing an area. This is the beauty of graffiti street art, is that it is accessible to all.

Is Graffiti A Type of Art?

Is Graffiti A Type of Art?

Graffiti has been around throughout the history of humankind, but does it count as art? With so many different art forms out there, it can be difficult to determine exactly what qualifies as artwork. Likewise, it can be equally as difficult to determine the definition of art.

In this blog, we’ll be outlining the definitions of art and graffiti, and exploring whether graffiti is an art form or just vandalism. Read on to learn more about the graffiti scene and to find out the answer to the age-old question – is graffiti a type of art?

 

What is Art?

Art is a concept that can be very difficult to define, as it encompasses so many different mediums and activities. One definition of art is a creative expression by a human – and another definition is simply a form of expressing yourself.

American writer Elbert Hubbard described art as ‘not a thing, it is a way’. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright defined art as the ‘discovery and development of elementary principles of nature into beautiful forms suitable for human use.

The definition of art has evolved throughout history – different people and cultures all have different definitions and interpretations of the term. What you see as art may be seen completely differently by somebody else.

Art is subjective – there is no single definition for what art is. Art can encompass a wide range of activities – whether it be music, literature and written word, film, dance, living art, theatre, craft, and of course, sculpture and other decorative arts, performance art and visual arts.

In terms of visual art, there is a wide range of art genres – for example, fine art, expressionism, impressionist art, pop art, abstract art, conceptual art, acrylic painting, and of course, murals and other forms of street art.

 

Is Graffiti Art or Vandalism?

Graffiti, much like art itself, is subjective – different people will have different opinions on whether graffiti is vandalism or artwork. That being said, the general opinion on graffiti has shifted slightly in recent years, with more people recognising graffiti as a type of art.

Still, not everybody accepts graffiti as art, and some people will look at graffiti designs and see nothing but vandalism – a criminal act.

Some people will only perceive graffiti as artwork when it is moved from the streets to more traditional surfaces such as print art or canvas. Many graffiti artists will begin creating art prints and using traditional art mediums once they develop their reputation. This enables their artwork to be purchased and exhibited, ultimately furthering their career.

It can be argued, however, that all forms of graffiti can qualify as art. Whether it be a small, simple tag or an elaborate mural, all graffiti can be considered artwork. Graffiti involves creativity – graffiti artists will combine their artistic skill, experience and creativity to create artwork in public spaces, whether it be buildings or walls.

For many, graffiti is a rebellious statement that does not seek public acceptance. People will paint graffiti to express their emotions or evoke thoughts and conversation.

 

Is Graffiti Legal?

Despite being associated with illegal activities, graffiti is a form of artistic expression. Not all graffiti is illegal – there are several legal forms of graffiti too.

For example, some business owners may pay graffiti artists to create art on their buildings – and some towns and cities may host graffiti and street art festivals where artists are given permission to paint in public spaces. That being said, the legality of graffiti can vary across different contexts.

 

The Roots of Graffiti Art

The 1949 invention of the spray can enable one of the most prominent modern art/ contemporary art movements and painting techniques to develop – street art/ graffiti art.

Graffiti has been around throughout the history of humanity – however, the modern graffiti movement began in the 1960s. This is when graffiti became much more popular and visible in towns and cities around the world.

Contemporary graffiti – also referred to as ‘hip-hop graffiti’ – began in urban America – and was prominent in locations such as New York City and Philadelphia. One of the early modern artists in the graffiti world was Darryl McCray – known as ‘Cornbread’. In 1965, at the age of 12, Cornbread developed a reputation for painting his nickname on a wide range of surfaces in Philadelphia.

Tagging and graffiti saw a rise in the 1970s – during this time, graffiti evolved into a more stylized and letter-based form known as “tagging” or “writing.” Graffiti writers would begin to use their unique stylized signatures, or “tags,” to mark their presence throughout the city. This marked the beginning of the hip-hop and street art movements, which played a significant role in shaping graffiti culture.

Historically, graffiti was either painted or carved. Because graffiti doesn’t usually last long, the roots can be difficult to track. Likewise, graffiti artists often prefer to be anonymous or operate under pseudonyms – for example, Banksy or Stony.

Graffiti has been found in many ancient cultures and civilizations – for example, ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. Some pieces can still be viewed today; graffiti in Pompeii was preserved on the walls of buildings. This gave us an insight into life in Pompeii at the time, including the thoughts and feelings of the residents.

 

Exploring the Work of Graffiti Artists

Banksy is undeniably one of the most renowned and enigmatic graffiti artists. Hailing from the UK, his art style is politically charged. His thought-provoking stencil artworks have captivated the world. Although not much is known about the identity of Banksy as he chose artistic anonymity, his work is recognised for tackling social and cultural issues with irony and humour.

Another notable graffiti artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat, who transitioned from street art to the contemporary art scene. Basquiat’s bold and expressive graffiti-style paintings were highly influential, addressing societal themes such as race, aids, and gay rights. His legacy continues to inspire artists worldwide.

There are many reasons why artists create graffiti – Stony, for example, used art as a form of self-expression. He was heavily dyslexic and autistic, and found it difficult to express himself – but art helped him to release his built-up energy. Stony’s artwork was his ‘diary on canvas’ – and after he died in 2021, his legacy continues through his art.

Exploring The Different Types of Urban Art

Exploring The Different Types of Urban Art

Urban art involves a wide range of creative expressions found on the streets of cities around the world, from London to Mexico.

From vibrant murals and thought-provoking installations to graffiti tags, these diverse forms of urban art offer a unique visual experience. Read on to learn more about the urban art world, including the different types of urban art.

 

What is Urban Art?

Urban art is a type of art that encompasses several artistic styles – for example, graffiti art, 3D street art, large-scale murals and even wheatpaste posters. You can find urban art that draws inspiration from pop art, expressionism, surrealism, and many more styles.

At its core, urban art is a dynamic and vibrant form of artistic expression that has emerged from the bustling streets of cities worldwide.

Urban artists use many techniques such as paint rollers, posters, stencils and spray paint to create pieces of art in urban areas. Ultimately, urban art blurs the lines between art and urban spaces; turning public places into outdoor, public galleries to view and appreciate artwork.

The urban art scene is not static – instead, it evolves with the surrounding environment. The urban art scene constantly adapts to the surrounding areas, often reflecting societal and political issues that people in the area face.

 

Exploring Graffiti Art

Graffiti street art is an extremely popular modern art form. It refers to artwork created on the streets and other public spaces, whether it be on pavements, disused buildings, parks or even bus stops.

There are several techniques used to create graffiti – for example, stencilling. Graffiti artists will often use stencils to produce designs that can then be reproduced across different locations. You can create stencils of both images and text-based designs; simply create the design, and paint over the stencil.

Some graffiti artists will use spray paint – this can be a great way to create quick designs in vibrant colours. However, for larger graffiti projects, paint rollers are a more common option.

The graffiti world isn’t always easy to understand, and there are many unique graffiti terms used by artists across the world.

 

Graffiti Tags

Graffiti tags are extremely common in urban areas. Is it the simplest form of graffiti, although some tag designs can be more complex than others.

A graffiti tag usually refers to the artist’s name, crew name or pseudonym. It is a way for graffiti artists to mark their work or their territory. Ultimately, tagging is a way for graffiti artists and graffiti crews to get their names out there.

Artists will tag their name in a wide range of spaces, whether it be lamposts, trains, pavements, or of course, buildings. Some graffiti artists will compete with other artists, and try to get their tag in the most difficult-to-reach location. This is known as ‘heaven spotting’, and can be incredibly dangerous.

Usually, tags are created quickly – it’s a quick way of marking your name. However, the art of tagging has evolved in recent years, and tag designs have become much more complex. Street artists may spend hours and hours perfecting their tag design.

They are often created using spray paint – but can also be created using paint rollers or brushes. It’s also possible to create a graffiti tag using a knife, marker or pen.

 

Exploring Murals

Murals are one of the most popular art forms and is typically the most favoured among the general public. You can find murals across any urban area – typically, murals span across entire walls and buildings. They can also be painted on ceilings and floors too.

Several techniques are used to create murals – for example:

  • Stencilling
  • Antiquing
  • Sponging
  • Glazing
  • Stippling

Many urban artists will use a combination of these methods to create a mural – for example, they may use stippling to create detail, but sponging to enhance the texture of the piece.

Although some graffiti and mural artists will create murals without permission, many artists are commissioned to create murals to liven up an area, whether it be by local councils or business owners. Beautiful murals can attract tourists to an area and to local businesses, which in turn, can improve the economy too.

You may be wondering what the difference is between mural artists and graffiti artists. Although many elements of the two urban art styles overlap, typically, graffiti artists will not have permission to create graffiti art in public spaces. Mural artists, however, will generally be commissioned or granted permission to create murals.

 

Exploring Poster and Sticker Art

If you walk through any city centre, you’ll likely see posters on bus stops, lampposts, walls; pretty much any surface. Although some may see it as vandalism or flyposting, it can be a form of art too.

Poster art is a form of artistic drawing that is printed – or drawn – on paper. Poster artists can either use painting, calligraphy or graphic design skills to create posters. These posters are then placed around urban spaces to be seen by the public.

Sticker art is a very similar form of urban art to poster art – artists create eye-catching sticker designs of all shapes and sizes and stick them to urban surfaces. Although some can be removed easily, others can be extremely difficult to remove.

 

Prints and Canvas

Some street artists will begin to create art prints once they’ve developed a reputation on the street art scene.

This can be a great way to monetize their artwork. However, not all artists will create prints for profit. Banksy, for example, created prints to make his art more accessible to the wider public – and sold his prints at a low price.

Many will also create paintings on canvas in the style of urban art. Stony, for example, created graffiti-style paintings combining both words and art. Ultimately, canvas paintings and art prints can be a great way for an artist to boost their reputation and generate profit from their art.

Graffiti Terms You Should Know: A Glossary

Graffiti Terms You Should Know: A Glossary

All subcultures have their own slang and terms – and the graffiti scene is no exception. Graffiti artists will often communicate with each other using these terms, whether it be to describe graffiti activities, fonts, or artists.

Today, we’ll be listing the top ten graffiti terms you should know. If you want to know more about the street art scene or you’re thinking of becoming a street artist, this blog post is for you.

Some terms may be specific to a local area, but most terms on this list are recognised and used frequently by graffiti artists and street artists around the world. Read on to learn some of the top terms in the graffiti community as well as the meanings behind them.

 

1 – Tag

Throughout history, people have tagged their names in public spaces. Children will write their names on their school desks, and graffiti artists will tag their names on walls and other public spaces.

Tagging is graffiti in its simplest form. A graffiti artist will use markers or spray paints to tag, and will usually only use one or two colours.

It is essentially the signature of a graffiti writer, painted, of course, in graffiti letters/ words such as bubble writing. There is often an element of calligraphy in graffiti tagging – some graffiti writers will spend hours perfecting their tag before painting it in public spaces.

Street artists will often paint their tag next to their artwork so it can be identified as their work. Many artists won’t use their real names, and instead, their tag will be their pseudonyms. For example, Banksy doesn’t write his real name (whatever that may be) on his artwork.

 

2 – Heaven Spot

If you’re not a member of the graffiti community, you may not have heard of the term ‘heaven spot’ – but you’ll likely be familiar with the concept.

It refers to ‘daredevil graffiti’ – when you paint graffiti in a place that’s difficult to reach. This typically includes high spaces – for example, on the top of a bridge, rooftop, overpass or a tall wall.

Graffiti artists will often take pride in tagging or painting in these spots – especially if other artists can’t reach them. This also means that they will be less likely to be removed or painted over.

Heaven spot graffiti is dangerous and is often seen as a challenge for graffiti artists. One small accident can lead to death – hence the name ‘heaven spot’.

 

3 – Throw Up

A throw-up is another art form – a type of graffiti tag – it’s one of the more widely recognised graffiti terms. Typically created with spray paint, throw-ups or ‘throwies’ are tag drawings inspired by bubble writing/ bubble lettering.

They are usually created quickly with just one layer of spray paint. They may feature several colours but typically consist of just two colours including the outline. Generally, graffiti artists will create a throw-up of their name or their crew’s name.

 

4 – Piece

The term ‘piece’ can have several meanings. First of all, it can refer to any work of art – whether it be a small tag or a large-scale mural. However, some people will only use the term to describe elaborate pieces of graffiti, typically created by skilled and prominent names in the street art scene.

Usually, a painting must have several colours in order to be referred to as a graffiti piece. Often, graffiti pieces feature colour transitions as well as 3D effects. Some pieces also include shadowing and texture too. You can view pieces by street artist Stony here. 

 

5 – Whole Train/ Whole Car

Many graffiti artists will cover a train carriage in graffiti. The term ‘whole train/ whole car’, however, is used to describe a graffiti piece covering a whole train – every single carriage of the train.

Ensuring a whole train is completely covered top to bottom in graffiti can be a difficult task, and is a task rarely (if ever) completed alone. Instead, it requires the work of a graffiti crew. Some crews will even collaborate with others to cover a train in graffiti work. Often, it will consist of different graffiti styles and several techniques will be used.

It’s important to note that doing so is illegal – and when painting in public spaces, there is a risk of being caught by the police and charged.

 

6 – Crew

You’re more than likely familiar with the term ‘crew’. It is a term used to describe a group of people that typically work together – for example, the crew of a ship or aeroplane – and in popular culture, is an informal term to describe a group of people that spend time together.

In the graffiti world, a crew refers to a group of graffiti artists that work together or collaborate on pieces. Friends and associates will often form graffiti crews and begin creating works of graffiti art together. In a crew, it is much easier to paint large-scale pieces as it is a collaborative effort.

A graffiti crew will often have a unique tag; typically a combination of members’ initials or names – but can also be abbreviations of the full crew name.

There’s a common misconception that a graffiti crew is similar to a gang. Although crew activity does share some similarities with gang behaviour, a graffiti crew’s main objective is graffiti instead of serious criminal acts.

 

7 – Bomb

A bomb in graffiti culture refers to when graffiti is extensively applied to a single location. Graffiti bombers will often quickly ‘bomb’ an area with throw-ups or tags because it’s much quicker than extensive murals or statement pieces.

 

8 – Married Couple

‘Married couple’ is an old graffiti term that originates from the NYC/ New York City subway art scene. The term is used to refer to a subway car/ train car that is permanently linked to another – and in the graffiti world, it refers to two cars painted next to each other.

Sometimes, graffiti artists will combine the two carriages with art, including the gap between the carriages.

 

9 – Adbusting

Adbusting, also known as ‘subvertising’ is when graffiti artists paint over or amend advertisements in public places.

They may make satirical comments or political statements around ads. Adbusting, much like other forms of graffiti, often has political overtones and touches on social issues in a humorous way.

 

10 – Deface/ Cap

To deface somebody else’s graffiti – or ‘cap somebody else’s work – is to paint over or destroy somebody’s art piece. The term ‘cap’ comes from when a graffiti writer Cap (known for his lettering and number style) would create throw-ups over other people’s work.

Defacing graffiti created by another artist is considered highly disrespectful in the graffiti scene. In fact, to some, it is the declaration of graffiti war.

That being said, in some cases, it may be considered more acceptable to paint over existing graffiti – for example, if the piece is considered low-quality, and is painted over with something better.

Where To Find The Best Street Art In The UK

Where To Find The Best Street Art In The UK

The UK is one of the best places for art in the world, with street art in all cities, from London to Liverpool. The USA brought the world the likes of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but the UK also has some prominent contributions to the street art world – for example, Banksy and Stony.

But where exactly can you find the best street art in the UK? And who are some of the best local street artists? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog post. Read on for some of the best places to find street art in the UK.

 

London

London is a cultural hotspot and is a top destination for viewing art in the UK – which, of course, includes street art. London is home to countless art galleries, museums, festivals and art fairs – and is the place to be if you’re an art lover or an artist.

Street artists will travel for miles to paint near London landmarks, and likewise, tourists will travel miles to view the artwork too. From Bethnal Green to Dulwich and Shoreditch, you can find stunning street art on pretty much every corner of London.

If you’re looking for some of the best graffiti art in London, head to Brick Lane. The Brick Lane area has been redeveloped recently and is considered a hipster hot spot in London.

There are plants of beautiful art pieces to view nearby – explore the Nomadic Community Gardens, Hanbury Street and The Truman Brewery.

Head over to Camden for the true street art experience. With delicious street food, lively street markets and an abundance of street art, you’re sure to have a great day out in Camden. Camden is known across the globe for its iconic street art scene.

However, the area has taken a hit recently due to redevelopment in the area – there are now fewer places for street artists to produce artwork. You could find street art around the canal and railway arches previously which attracted art lovers across the globe.

The Camden street art scene is still prominent but is slightly more scattered. Explore the Chalk Farm train stations as well as Miller Street, Hartland Road and Harmood Street – or take a walk down the Ferdinand Estate to view some extraordinary pieces.

 

Bristol

Bristol is known for being a street art hotspot, with countless selfies being posted online with Bristol’s famous street art as a backdrop.

There are many notable names in the Bristol graffiti scene and street art scene. The scene dates back to the 1980s and saw a huge boost in the early 90s. Some of the city’s early artists include 3D, Robert Del Naja (from the band Massive Attack), and of course, iconic and world-famous street artist Banksy, who is one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world.

Banksy’s identity is a mystery, but one of the things we do know about him is that he began his career as a graffiti artist in Bristol, and helped to shape the underground urban art scene in Bristol.

Some of his most famous pieces include Valentine’s Day, Flower Thrower, Grim Reaper, and of course, the numerous print pieces he has created over the years. Naturally, Bristol is home to some of Banksy’s famous works.

Bristol hosted ‘Walls of Fire’ back in 1998 which was essentially a huge celebration of street art, which showcased the city’s passion for street art.

If you’re looking for street art in Bristol, head over to Stokes Croft. This area is full of street art from up-and-coming street artists, with new commissions constantly appearing in public spaces. Check out ‘Tsunami of Roses’ and ‘Community Wall’. Likewise, head over to Bedminster for some other famous pieces.

 

Belfast

Belfast is a culturally rich city, and of course, home to some stunning street art. There is a wide variety of street art forms in the streets of Belfast, from graffiti to large-scale murals.

The city is home to many political murals as well as murals painted purely for aesthetic purposes, whether it be through paint rollers or spray paint.

Some of the city’s struggles have been well-documented in the form of thought-provoking artwork across the walls of the city, whether it be on the sides of housing or businesses or on the streets. This dates as far back as 1908, and has often been associated with the Troubles from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Belfast has become a place for street artists to thrive, creating satirical, powerful and thought-provoking artwork. These are often politically charged, opening conversations for locals and tourists alike.

 

Manchester

Manchester hosted the Cities of Hope Festival back in 2016, which kickstarted the street art scene in the city, bringing some of the best murals and street artists in the world to Manchester. The festival encouraged some of the top street artists to improve the streets of Manchester with beautiful murals that highlight social issues.

If you’re looking for some of the best street/ graffiti art in Manchester, head to the thriving Northern Quarter. You can find artwork from the likes of Faunagraphic, Nomad Clan and Mateus Bailon. Some other prominent Manchester-based street artists include Axel Void and Akse.

Stevenson Square is also a great place to find urban art, whether it be on the sides of disused toilet blocks or on the walls of buildings. The High Street is also home to new street art – new artwork is being found across the city all the time.

 

Liverpool

Liverpool is one of the top street art cities in the UK, known for its culture, history, football clubs, and of course, its connection to The Beatles. It is a cultural hotspot in the UK and was recognised as such in 2008 when it was crowned the European Capital of Culture.

Street art has been prominent on the streets of Liverpool since the 1970s – murals appeared dedicated to iconic musicians such as Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. Today, there are still murals and street art scattered around the city, from dancing figures to iconic musicians, highlighting Liverpool’s love of urban art.

Liverpool was also home to the Contrast Murals Festival, which united over 50 urban artists and celebrated street artists across the city. The festival took place before the second lockdown in China Town.

One of Liverpool’s most prominent street artists is British street artist Paul Curtis. He is known for creating ‘For All Liverpool’s Liver Birds” – which consists of Liver Bird wings. This was his very first piece of street art and garnered much attention across the city (and of course, many selfies!). He was named Merseyside’s Artist of the Year in 2020.

Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle is home to some of the most popular street art in Liverpool – if you’re looking for street art in Liverpool, head down to Jamaica Street or Jordan Street. Like many street art hotspots, the Baltic Triangle was once a derelict neighbourhood – but is now full of life.

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