Street Art Vs. Graffiti In Los Angeles

On the heels of our street art slideshow featuring pictures from LA Taco, blog Melrose & Fairfax encouraged us to get in touch with them "if you really want to see what is happening on the streets of Los Angeles." Turns out there's a difference between street art and graffiti, and the editor of Melrose & Fairfax (who wishes to remain anonymous) kindly offered to set the record straight on the matter.

Photos and captions courtesy of the editor of Melrose & Fairfax. Scroll down for a Q&A between Huffington Post and Melrose & Fairfax.

HP: Why do you have a passion for chronicling Los Angeles street art?

M&F: We first became passionate about graffiti after graduating college and living in Miami. The beautiful, colorful, spectacular, powerful pieces of art caught our attention and we became enthralled with these artists who would risk violence, fines and imprisonment just to put up a piece of art. Years later, when we moved to Los Angeles, we began documenting the art on the streets for our own collection.

After living in the area for a year and watching countless pieces of incredible street art emerge on the street and then disappear soon after, we felt that we had to document these fleeting elements of the art world, so we started the blog. We call it "A Celebration of Street Art in Los Angeles" and we really try to nurture a positive and supportive fan base. The success has been tremendous, and in less than a year the blog has grown to be the #1 sticker art blog in the world, and one of the top 5 street art blogs worldwide. It is also the only place to see Qtip, the crazy graffiti cat-on-a-leash! (we like to put the cat in a lot of shots).

HP: How did you get started on the Melrose & Fairfax blog?

M&F: We moved to the Melrose and Fairfax area after running into world famous graffiti artist Neckface while he was doing a mural on Melrose. We were moving to LA from out of state, and the only friends we knew in the area lived in Santa Monica and wanted us to settle near the beach. But once we met Neckface, this was the area where we wanted to live--the place where all the action in the street world is going down. We have been in love with it ever since.

HP: There's bound to be controversy about your definition of street art versus graffiti. Why is it important for you to distinguish between the two?

M&F: It is important for us to distinguish between graffiti and street art because, honestly, we feel that graffiti has been given a bad name--and by association, street art has been pulled down into that. Don't get us wrong, we love graffiti and what it is about, but not everyone does, and street art doesn't need to get weighted down with that baggage.

Both graffiti and street art use the re-appropriation of public space. But with graffiti you are limited to what you can do with a spray can on the spot. Street art might employ some of the application techniques, but most often, it is a finished product that is brought ready-made to the location, so the artist's message is much more developed. Street art is not so much about making a name and leaving a mark as it is getting people to interact with and view something in a new way, and that is a big difference.