Even if you are one of those snooty people who brag about knowing every single detail in every single Renoir painting, you may be clueless when it comes to street art. Unlike your traditional Renoirs and Monets, street art does not necessarily hang out at museums, but rather expresses itself right on the street or any public space. The canvas may be the street itself, or it could be the sidewalk pavement, a big, green lawn, the side of a building, an overpass, a fence, a boardwalk or the middle of park.


Types. Street art comes in many forms, so don’t think it only counts if it includes spray paint and a wild mural on a wall somewhere. Illustrations, graphics, signs and stickers can count as street art, but so can video, dance, flash mobs and other performance art. This also includes those creepy, painted-face pseudo mannequin folks that suddenly move when you walk by them. Street art may be planned in advance or commissioned, or it may be impromptu and costly for the artists. It can also be wholly accidental that no one even intended as art. A big pile of dog doo by a “Clean up after your dog” sign is a prime example of found street art. Please watch your step so you don’t ruin the masterpiece.


Media. If the dog doo is street art, dog doo (and sprinkles!) definitely count as forms of street art media. Other media includes spray paint, chalk, pastels, sharp objects for etching, blunt objects for bashing and good ole crayons. Video projectors, computer and TV screens and random debris or objects may also play a part in the mix. People count as the medium during lots of performance art unless, of course, you’re watching a penguin do backflips on Broadway. Then it’s the penguin that counts.


How to Know if It Sucks. A faux pas you can make with street art is to ooh and ahh over something that truly sucks. Everyone has their own tastes, sure, and those tastes should be respected, but you’ll know street art sucks when it blatantly defaces existing street art, signs, or other property and generally looks like hell. Then it’s not art. It’s vandalism. A mural depicting vandalism, however, goes back to being street art. Got it?


How to appreciate it. The first (and sometimes only) step needed to appreciate street art is to open your narrow mind. Art is much more than paintings hanging on gallery walls. It surrounds you every second of every day. Paying attention to various forms of expression can make you street art savvy in no time. Better yet, you’ll be able to blow the socks off your date.