Urban art combines street art and graffiti and is often used to summarize all visual art forms arising in urban areas, being inspired by urban architecture or present urban lifestyle. Because the urban arts are characterized by existing in the public space, they are often viewed as vandalism and destruction of private property.
Although urban art started at the neighborhood level, where a lot of people of different cultures live together, it is an international art form with an unlimited number of uses nowadays. Many urban artists travel from city to city and have social contacts all over the world. The notion of ‘Urban Art’ developed from street art which is primarily concerned with graffiti culture. Urban art represents a broader cross-section of artists that, in addition to covering traditional street artists working in formal gallery spaces, also cover artists using more traditional media but with a subject matter that deals with contemporary urban culture and political issues. In Paris, Le Mur is a public museum of urban art.
Though starting as an underground movement, urban artists like Banksy and Adam Neate have now gained mainstream status and have, in turn, propelled the urban art scene into popular culture. Perceptions have started to change as urban movements such as graffiti slowly gain acceptance from the public. A confirmation of street art’s new mainstream status can be, in part, confirmed by an invitation from the Tate calling upon artists to create outdoor pieces on the Thames side of the gallery in the summer of 2008.