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Cave painting, which came to us from deep antiquity can be considered the forerunner of street art. Funnily enough, there were no streets at that old age. Modern street art appeared in the United States. The first graffiti images began to appear on the walls of buildings and subway cars in the 1930s, but until the 1970s they were single inscriptions. Those who made them were considered hooligans, petty offenders and troublemakers.

They were treated as vandals, smashing windows and worsening the crime situation of a big city. A special feature of street art was its unusual venues. Streets and public places instead of the silence of museum halls. The most popular tool for street artists was a spray-paint can, some of them used stencils.

But there are more unusual manifestations of street art - installations and street sculptures.

In the late 1960s, there was a street artist in New York who had the pseudonym Taki 183. Working as a courier, he painted walls in different parts of the city.

In 1971, the New York Times published an article about him, and this fueled popularity of street art.

New York subway cars were particularly desired objects for street artists.

They didn’t usually limit themselves to several cars but painted whole trains. Finally, the city authorities allotted certain places for street artists to express themselves. The first graffiti exhibition also opened in the 1970s. It was then that street artists were made lots of commercial offers.

And their creative potential has been rising. Now, in addition to different inscriptions, they draw cartoon characters.

It became fashionable for tourists to make photos against the background of street art paintings. Graffiti began to appear in Hollywood films as one of the characteristic features of the metropolis.

Street art amateurs were soon followed by professionals. Such masters as Jean-Michel Basquiat did not refrain from making wide streets better. His artworks are now sold for very big money.

In the 1990s, street artists became actively involved in advertisement, receiving orders from such large companies as IBM and Sony.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat is an American street artist who came to prominence in New York City and later worked in the genre of neo- expressionism. From the late 1970s, he graffitied the walls of Manhattan, and also played music in the industrial sound band Gray in nightclubs of the area. In the 1980s he worked with Andy Warhol.

Blek le Rat (Xavier Prue), a French street artist, was the first to use a stencil for drawing images. This idea first occurred to him when he was arrested by the police while working on one of the streets. With the help of stencils, street art paintings can be created faster.

Since 1981, the frequent heroes of his artworks have been rats, which he depicts on the streets of Paris, because he considers them the only free animals in the city. He has also created paintings, lithographs, and artworks in the genre of silk- screen printing and three-dimensional images.

Banksy is a British artist whose identity is still unknown. He is considered to be one of the most recognizable street artists. Banksy prefers to raise social issues like poverty, child labor, war and peace. At auctions, the price of his artworks exceeds $ million.

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On the other side of the Atlantic, the fashion for street art began to spread in the 1980s. The most famous art space of Europe in the late 1980s was the Berlin Wall, or rather what was left after its fall in 1989. One of its fragments has one of the most recognizable street art paintings - the kiss of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker - created by Dmitry Vrubel.

In total, the ruins of the wall hold paintings of 118 artists. Another European street art center is Paris. The French street artist Blek le Rat has been decorating its streets since the beginning of the 1980s, and populated Paris with his rats that inspired his famous counterpart Banksy. Thanks to him Street Art became popular in the UK.

But the social problems that yell from his artworks are relevant for all megacities of the world.

Shepard Fairey, an American street artist, participated in the 2008 Barack Obama’s election campaign.

In Berlin, Paris, London, Hamburg, and many other cities, tours of places with street art paintings have become quite popular.

The phrase of Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the representatives of this genre, I do not think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life may become street art's motto.

Street art pictures for sale can be found on the Jose Art Gallery webpage.

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