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colourful street art on wall

The History of Street Art

Here at Hi-Point Access, we provide graffiti removal services for businesses who have not consented to their buildings being spray painted. However, we can still understand the artistic merit of the culture when done in a legal way. Although street art began as a subversive cultural movement, the modern-day has seen a number of legal walls and festivals pop up where street art can be appreciated.

The Early Years

Some of the very early exhibitions of street art – more accurately graffiti in this case – were the gang-related slogans that began to pop up in New York on the sides of its train cars and walls. This type of street graffiti was used by gangs to mark territory and make threats to rival gangs. 

In the ‘40s, a symbol known as ‘Kilroy Was Here’ became popular during World War Two and was synonymous with soldiers and the army. The phrase was accompanied by a bald-headed man peeking over a wall with his hands holding onto the edge.

‘70s & ‘80s New York City

The ‘70s and ‘80s in New York is widely considered the heyday of graffiti and street art, with the American city the undoubted epicentre and birthplace of the phenomenon. The art form began cropping up on the sides of subway cars as competing artists would attempt to get their ‘tags’ to increasingly dangerous heights to prove their credentials. 

This style of art was intended to be subversive and provided a transgressive culture to the rising powers of commercialism and the government. Street art in NYC was also strongly connected with the burgeoning hip hop movement, with prominent rappers connected with other street artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Street Art Today

Today, street art has evolved from a clandestine art movement to something with more gravitas. Many legal walls have been set up for artists to express themselves and political commentators like Banksy have started to become household names with their work selling for millions of pounds.

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To find out more, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at our headquarters at Hi-Point Access Ltd, Unit 7, Valley Works, Grange Lane, Sheffield, S5 0DP, call us on 0114 257 7600 or email us at

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