Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Slovenia, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian (Slovenia).
Sticker art

Is There a Clear Distinction Between Street Art and Vandalism?

What constitutes street art? What differentiates street art from vandalism? Can street art be seen as antithetical to vandalism? Don’t they share similar aesthetics or motivations? No matter the answer to these questions, I believe it’s safe to say that some people consider street art controversial and offensive. But on the flip side of that same coin, you will also find those who find it appealing and engaging.

When messages conflict with the prevailing view of the public.

It’s my educated guess that we can all agree with the statement that art doesn’t have an inherently positive impact, while vandalism doesn’t have an inherently negative one. Nevertheless, it might not surprise you that numerous souls don’t perceive my street art interventions as art. Instead, they demean my humorous interactive sticker art and label it vandalism because they believe that my stickers have a negative impact.

So let me clear the air here. As a visual artist, I never set out to vandalize the urban public spaces that we share. Instead, with my interactive, humorous, and thought-provoking street art interventions, I critically try to draw attention to our indifference to some of the problems that plague us personally and society as a whole. I never slapped them in the streets to satisfy the narcissist in me. Rather, they have always been intended to evoke awareness regarding specific social issues. I am fully aware that some of my messages conflict with the public’s prevalent view, making me prone to lawful or unlawful repercussions. That said, I consciously avoid sticking my designs on private property, monuments, and protected landmarks. Subsequently, I always ask those who purchase my stickers to do to same and respect cultural heritage and private property.


I don’t know if street art ever really works indoors. If you domesticate an animal, it goes from being wild and free to sterile, fat and sleepy. So maybe the art should stay outside.

Banksy

Art isn’t beautiful to most people who roam this planet. 

You could state that objective beauty does not exist. Subsequently, similar to any other human concept, you could say that it is a label that commonly reflects the majority of opinions. Nonetheless, although some street art may not tick all the boxes of what is beautiful, it can still be valued and positively impact its environment. Hence, paraphrasing Leo Tolstoy, street art does not cease to be street art because the majority labels it as a detestable expression of vandalism. 

By placing my stickers on many public infrastructural objects, I try to transform these everyday objects into general philosophical reminders. I am aware that I might violate some of the (un)written rules of socially acceptable behavior in doing so. Nevertheless, my Space Utopian stickers were designed to improve our collective social awareness, inspire social change, and possibly create memorable street art interventions.


The street has become an excellent place for communication.

Jérome Catz (Talk about street art, 2014)

Life isn’t that black and white.

In the past, I perceived vandals as being destructive and selfish. But after giving it more thought, I learned that life isn’t black and white. I discovered that it’s a million shades of grey instead. Vandals can be socially conscious, and artists can be egocentric. Which led me to believe that street art and vandalism aren’t mutually exclusive. But who am I? Am I a vandal or am I an artist?

Attempting to meticulously define both sides of the spectrum is absurd. The way different people view the same visuals is affected by a multiplicity of factors. You could state that it’s not necessarily our reality that shapes the way we see art but the lens through which our brain views the world that shapes art. This lens, shaped by our emotions, experiences, hidden agendas, and motivations, inevitably impacts how we interpret street art, regardless of the author’s intent.

Therefore, whether my stickers should be considered street art or vandalism will always be different for different people, and I respect all opinions. Some will pleasantly interact with and positively receive the message. In contrast, others will diligently attempt to scratch off my interactive stickers, regardless of how they positively try to impact the world.

Either way, if you believe that my art project and goal to change the world one sticker at a time is worth pursuing, you can always lend me a hand. Firstly, you can share Space Utopian’s brainwave on your preferred social media profile. Secondly, suppose you have sufficient financial means, you can join Space Utopian’s global movement by purchasing some of my stickers or contribute to new thought-provoking street art interventions by buying me a Fairtrade coffee.

  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of New York City, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian (New York City, USA).
  • Why am I no longer a tree? Sticker in the streets of Slovenia, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian (Slovenia).
  • More love letters, please! Sticker in the streets of Trieste, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian (Trieste, Italy).
  • How are you living?! Sticker in the streets of wherever I may roam, © by @Space_Utopian
  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Santorini, 2019 © by @Space_Utopian (Santorini, Greece).
  • You need you. Sticker in the streets of Slovenia, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian (Šmarna Gora, Slovenia).
  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Prague, 2019 © by @Space_Utopian (Prague, Czech Republic).
  • More love letters, please! Sticker in the streets of Slovenia, 2021 © by @Space_Utopian (Slovenia).
  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Brussels, 2018 © by @Space_Utopian (Brussels, Belgium).
  • Stop the suicide economy. Sticker in the streets of Slovenia, 2022 © by @Space_Utopian.
  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Ljubljana, 2019 © by @Space_Utopian (Ljubljana, Slovenia).
  • Push to reset the world. Sticker in the streets of Ljubljana, 2019 © by @Space_Utopian (Antwerp, Belgium).

Source: Art and Vandalism: Are They So Different? by Pennstate (PSYCH 424 blog)