Graffiti and Its Many Forms

Graffiti is such a diverse topic, not conforming to a specific type or style of art. Each artist as their own style they typically stay true to, for example Banksy usually uses stencils for his artwork while others do freehand work in forms like murals, tags, or throwies. Keep scrolling to see 5 examples of these different styles of graffiti…

  1. Murals 

Pink Ghetto by Lady Pink. Found on her website,

One popular type of graffiti is the mural. A mural is a piece that will usually take up a whole wall or a large section and will have a lot going on in the piece. Murals are popular among graffiti artists because there are so many variations of that can be done with having a mural. They can range in size from being just a small wall in an alleyway to the whole face of a building. Along with size, they can vary from being complex and extremely detailed, to being simple with a powerful meaning behind the image. Another example of a mural is this one by Cacao Rocks found in Ann Arbor.

PAROS DELOS MICHIGAN by Cacao Rocks. Found on flickr, posted by CACAO ROCKS.

2. Tags

TAKI 183 tag. Found on

Another type of graffiti is tagging. All graffiti artists have a tag that they typically use over and over again to signify that the artwork is their or they just tag their “name” or symbol in many different places to get their name out there more. An example of a famous tag is the TAKI 183 tag shown above. This tag is famous because of the fact that it was seen everywhere. It seemed to take over the streets of NYC, which is the purpose of a tag. They are meant to be seen everywhere. It is an artists own personal signature.

3. Throwies


Throwie by Gun. Found on flickr.

A “throwie” is an exaggerated tag. It is the artist’s name in very large letters, often hard to read and with a lot of detailing in the letters or other art around the piece. You can see in this piece above we have exaggerated letters with detailing of the tag written inside the letters. Like murals, throwies can be very large and take up a lot of space on a wall. These can also be referred to as “bombs” or “throw ups” because they are often quickly “thrown up” on a wall.

4. Yarn Bombing

Yarn bombing on Wall Street by Olek. Found on artist’s website,

Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti where the artists croquets or knits a large piece on to something in the street, often on statues or thinks like bike racks or cars. These pieces are often colorful with wild patterns. The piece above is by a New York City artist by the name of Olek who “yarn bombs” many different things in the city. Above, Olek has “yarn bombed” the bull on wall street. Another name for this art is “guerilla knitting”.

5. Stencils

Graffiti is a Crime by Banksy. Found on artist’s website,

Stencils are when an image is cut out of paper or cardboard then put against a wall where it is spray painted. The cut out pieces of the paper or cardboard leave behind an image and this can be done with many layers depending on the detail of the piece. Stencils can be detailed or very simple and are often planned out and cut out in advance so that the artist can quickly and efficiently put the piece up in the desired location. The artist Banksy more or less made the stencil famous with his different work around the world. This piece above is found by him and is found in the streets of New York City.

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