Research in Brief: 3 Creativity Traits of Street Artists



Question:   What can we learn from street artists?


  • This interview-based study highlighted three "redeeming qualities of street art." 
  • The research included interviews with 40 Los Angeles-based street artists to gather data about their "behaviors, beliefs, and processes."

Three creativity characteristics emerged:

1.  Questioning the Status Quo
"Questioning the status quo in the Arts is a positive characteristic because there is not one set of rules for making art; the street artists interviewed consistently demonstrated this to me. . . These artists have created opportunities where there were none, and that type of ingenuity should be applauded."

2.  Modeling Creative Behavior
"While all artists may not meet in person, exposure to their work in the streets inspires more work and there is no shortage of strong work to inspire.  Seeing other's accomplishments or how they have tackled large projects or unusual contexts for making street art is inspirational."

3.  The Significance of Creative Groups and Environments
"A location and scene can foster creativity and these stimulating environments are a big part of the excitement for street art in L.A.  The history of all the locations shared is heightened by the continued activity and based upon the number of impressive works that have been installed over the years."

Why the study is important:
The author's insights, such as the importance of community in creation, suggest how the three characteristics can be applied in classroom settings to promote a supportive environment for creative thinking. 


Read more about what we can learn from street art in the article:

Daichendt, J. (2013).  Artist-Driven Initiatives for Art Education:  What We Can Learn From Street Art.
Art Education, 66, 6-12.


Clarion Alley, San Francisco
Clarion Alley, San Francisco
Clarion Alley, San Francisco
Clarion Alley, San Francisco

"San Francisco's Mission District is home to a high concentration of street art, bearing witness to an artistic community as vibrant as it is diverse. A heady mix borrowed in equal parts from the Mexican muralistas, 1930s WPA murals, graffiti, skater graphics, hip hop, and the alternative comics that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, the street art of the Mission reflects the concerns, aspirations, celebration, and anguish of a dynamic and vital neighborhood."  Spark, WQED Arts


View a tour of the district, and download an educator guide at Spark:  Mission District Street Art.


Contact Information

Debra Lemieux

If Then Creativity



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