Marta Slawinska

Title: Why Urban Street Art has become Popularised within Mainstream Art and Design and has Visually Impacted on the Living Environment

Researcher: Marta Sławińska

Supervisors: Ann Geaney, David Roberts

Project Background:

For many years Street Art has been seen as an eyesore or an act of vandalism associated with the lowest levels of society. It has now entered the world of commerce and mainstream art, it is exhibited and sold in established galleries all over the world and used in many fields of design, especially graphic design and advertising.

Commerce is domesticating what was once wild and rebellious, and serving it to consumers in the form of easy to assimilate items, often deprived of any meaning. This is viewed as a paradoxical development as originally Street Art was free, accessible to everyone regardless of their social and financial status. Through reclaiming public space, visually dominated by advertising, Street Art has the potential to bring public attention to uncomfortable issues, whether political or social, and to stimulate positive action.

Street Artists working for commercial projects are often classified as ‘traitors’ to the Street Art movement, but there are opinions that argue that for many of them moving to the commercial world was a natural step, influenced by the very nature of Street Art itself sharing many common features with advertising.

Aims of undertaken Research:

The aim of undertaken research is to examine this recent development through:

– Identifying mechanisms of Street Art (Who? What? Where? Why?) and exploring intentions of street artists and ‘the language’ of Street Art in the context of identity, society and space.

– Exploring the process of commodification of Street Art (commercial viability, use in commercial projects and presence in established art galleries and auction houses) and juxtaposing it with socially and politically conscious ‘non-profit’ Street Art for instance community projects and Culture Jamming.

– Investigating the influence of this recent development on the credibility of Street Art as an alternative and countercultural form of communication.


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