Classical music is to fine art as rap music is to graffiti.
As a radio station who plays Mozart would not feature 50 cent, a museum who displays Monet would not have a piece by Claw on their walls. Museums are places where world renowned artists who have dedicated their lives to the craft have their work on display. I have been going to art museums since I was a little kid yet I have never seen a piece of graffiti in one.
Even the contemporary museums do not seem to feature graffiti. Maybe this is an artist based choice, as a point of graffiti is that it is self expression and the streets are the museum where people can see the work for free. There are two main things that drive graffiti and they are either passion or release. Sometimes beautiful things are born from sadness, anger, pain and hurt and I believe that this can be the case with graffiti.
Graffiti is probably one of the most controversial art forms. Though I believe that it requires skill and talent, not all graffiti is art. If you go around a city with a spray can or a pen and tag your name on everything you pass, that is ot art. I do not need to see your scribbles on the mailbox, wall, and door that are in a six foot range. Also, what does that accomplish? That type of tag is not art, it is a petty way of saying “look at me i’m here, give me attention.”
That being said, not every tag is like that. Some tags are beautiful and amazing and you can easily turn a tag into a full blown art statement. The graffiti artist, Saber, is a great example of this. He uses his tag as the base for his pieces but they are large and colorful, half of the time you cannot even make out the tag because it is so hidden amongst the colors and patterns. He puts insane amounts of time, effort, and paint (which translates to money) into his work.
Another famous, if not the most famous, graffiti artist is Banksy. I have been really into banksy for a long time now. Half of the draw is the mystery behind the artist who is still unknown (so I will use they/their/them when speaking of Banksy). Their pieces are not just art but satirical criticisms and political/social activism. I also favor his style which is more stencil pieces than freehand, stereotypical “comic-like” graffiti. I absolutely love stencilling and stencil work, I think they is so much effort that goes into a piece that it just adds to its value.
I do not think that there is a great distinction between graffiti and street art. I would say that on a technical level, graffiti is made with strictly aerosol paints and pens while street art can use other forms of paint and painting. I do believe though, that the distinction lies between graffiti vandalism and graffiti art. Anything that is done with negative intentions, random tagging, aggressive/crude, or done without thought are vandalism. Graffiti art which is for sure a form of street art, usually involves planning and a lot of effort into making it something that people can look at and relate to. It is not just marking your territory.