Temporary Street Art That’s Changing The Graffiti Game

Public space has become a playground for artists of all disciplines in the last few decades, in part due to the popular embrace of graffiti, hip-hop culture, street art and the D.I.Y. movement. Thanks to a greater rate of participation than perhaps ever, public space is actually becoming more, well, public.

While much work on the street art scene is typically done without permission—and by definition illegal to some extent—it doesn’t necessarily fall into the vandalism column… especially when it leaves no harm or trace after a short time. Call it how to make street art, call it post-graffiti, call it a way to get your artwork out of your studio (or off the kitchen table). The below artists are all taking pains to devise techniques that are minimally impactful to property in pursuit of getting their vision on the street. There are no limits on materials or message; these examples just skip the damage.

Aakash Nihalani began using painter’s tape by accident, when attaching screen prints to the wall for a student exhibition in the late 2000s. More interested in tracing the shadow of the pedestal on a wall, Nihalani stumbled into his signature approach, which he’s taken to the streets. Using optical illusion and a captivation with city architecture as his muses, Nihalani has been pulling shapes out of thin air and tracing them with fluorescent masking tape for passersby to run into and consider. He likes the experience to be playful, but the geometry and the context he uses when creating the work are pure science.