Tagging, Graffiti and Street Art are very similar by certain standards of how one defines each of the term. One of the main differences, to me, that distinguishes them the most apart is the fact that one of them is used more in a negative way; while the other is praised and accepted.


Tagging was a competitive activity done by graffitists for recognition among their peers to gain the status of ‘King’. The higher or more difficult spot you were able to tag, the more praise you would receive. Tagging was first done on the subway trains until the increase in security of the at the subway yards. As tagging started getting more difficult to do, the higher you were looked up to. Gang members than started ‘hiring’ tag artist to mark off their territory and in return they would be offered free paint, money, or drugs while getting the gang protection. (Powers, Lynn A.)

Tagging and graffiti have been negatively Tagging and graffiti have been negatively labeled as the ones that is tied to being involved with gangs, crimes, and to having a higher possibility that if you tag or graffiti that you are more prone to getting arrested. It’s to the point of city official and the police think of graffiti art is considered to being illegal if your caught doing it on public or private property without permission. ( Ten Eyck, Toby  A, and Brette E Fischer) There is even flyers, the image above, that are made to help you spot our if your child is a tagger.


Graffiti-writing messages and drawing images in a public space (Bynoe, Yvonne)- was a integral element in New York City’s hip-hop subculture. According to Norman Mailer that without the beginnings of the subway tagging, the graffiti would eventually find its way, maybe not as soon as it did but eventually it would have. “Graffiti paintings never sold for high prices and in 1982-83, even the large canvases were only reaching prices of $5,000.” Graffiti not only was an evolution of the subway tagging but it was also from influence in cultural background did ‘artistic value’ get added on to the works (Powers, Lynn A.). It seems, it feels, so that more now with then before graffiti is used as a mean of protest either to their government, policies, or actions that may/may not have been taking to make sure that our planet is safe.  (Bynoe, Yvonne; Ten Eyck, Toby A, and Brette E Fischer)

Street Art:

Street Art seems like the most acceptable form of graffiti/tagging there is and who gets to be called a ‘Street Artist’ seems to be one that can be up for debate. There isn’t much new information that I can add to this section without it seeming as if I am repeating what has already been said about the foundation of Street Art.


  • With the influence of the internet street art and graffiti is made to be in urban spaces around the world are being curated together and made accessible online (Yeo, Shinjoung; MacDowall, Lachlan John, and Poppy de Souza; Ten Eyck, Toby A, and Brette E Fischer)
  • used to contest states, capital, the US empire, mobilize the public and reclaim public space (Yeo, Shinjoung; MacDowall, Lachlan John, and Poppy de Souza)
  • two closely related cultural forms, at times seemingly distinct and other times used interchangeably ( Lachlan John, and Poppy de Souza )
  • graffiti writers and street artists tag their own work, suggests a form of cultural production that connects to traditions and histories of tagging on the street; a social practice with its own rules and codes and is embedded with both intent and meaning ( Lachlan John, and Poppy de Souza )

Bynoe, Yvonne. “Graffiti (aka Aerosol Art).” Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture, Greenwood, 2005, pp. 158. ABC-CLIO eBook Collection,
MacDowall, Lachlan John, and Poppy de Souza. “‘I’d Double Tap That!!’: Street Art, Graffiti, and Instagram Research.” SAGE Journals, 13 Apr. 2017,
Powers, Lynn A. “Whatever Happened to the Graffiti Art Movement?” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 29, no. 4, 1996, pp. 137–142., doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.1996.137454.x.
Ten Eyck, Toby A, and Brette E Fischer. “Is Graffiti Risky? Insights from the Internet and Newspapers.” Shibboleth Authentication Request, SAGE Journal, 28 Sept. 2012,
Yeo, Shinjoung. “Access Now, but for Whom and at What Cost?” Information, Communication & Society, 2018, pp. 1–17., doi:10.1080/1369118x.2018.1529192.