Title of the article:



V. P. Veshnev

D. G. Tkach

Information about the author/authors

Vasily P. Veshnev — Research Engineer, A. N. Kosygin Russian State University (Technology. Design. Art), Malaya Kaluzhskaya St., 1, 119071 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1535-5504 E-mail: wave.trk@gmail.com

Dmitry G. Tkach — PhD in Arts, Professor, A. N. Kosygin Russian State University (Technology. Design. Art), Malaya Kaluzhskaya St., 1, 119071 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1535-5504 E-mail: tkach.dmitry@mail.ru


History of Arts




Vol. 62


pp. 357–371


June 11, 2021

Date of publication

December 28, 2021



Index UDK


Index BBK



The reported study was funded by RFBR, project No. 19-312-90060.


The paper traces the evolution of compositional solutions and figurative content of narrative street art from its inception to the present and identifies the most common constituent elements of narrative street art compositions. They include: narrative photo images, narrative digital art, narrative unique and printed author's graphics, narrative scenes and elements from the works of classical, national art and mass culture. The author considers the relationship between the evolution of technical means in the arsenal of street art artists and creative techniques and methods performed in figurative street art compositions. The narrative component was present already at the stage of graffiti and early street art, then gradually evolved towards greater significance and diversity of compositional solutions, reaching its heyday in modern public art. The study discusses characteristic creative techniques of iconic figures in contemporary street art and their role in the process of evolution of narrative street art compositions. Among them are Seen, K. Haring, J. M. Basquiat, Banksy, Ma Claim, Shepard Fairey, as well as the Russian cult street-art artist Pavel Pukhov, who gained international fame during his lifetime. The authors determined main methods of creating narrative compositions in contemporary street art; the most commonly used ones are the literal reproduction of narrative source material, the multiplication of primary sources, their mixing, superimposition and collage. The paper outlines the main principles of successful narrative street art compositions, including the relevance of the narrative, communication and contextual aspects, poster art, ensuring a quick perception by using an artistic language accessible to the mass audience, the use of easily recognizable allusions and archetypical images. 


street art, street art, monumental art, urban environment design.


1 Kotlomanov A. O. Pablik-art: stranitsy istorii. Torzhestvo kontseptualizma. Biennale, konkursy, art-proekty [Public art: pages of history. The triumph of conceptualism. Biennales, contests, art projects]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 2015, series 15, issue 3, pp. 5–19. Available at: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/pablik-art-stranitsy-istoriitorzhestvo-kontseptualizma-biennale-konkursy-art-proekty (accessed 10 June 2021). (In Russian)

2 Ponosov I. G. Iskusstvo i gorod: Graffiti, ulichnoe iskusstvo, aktivizm [Art and the city: Graffiti, street art, activism]. Moscow, Igor' Ponosov Publ., 2016. 208 p. (In Russian)

3 Radia T. Vse chto ia znaiu ob ulichnom iskusstve [Everything I know about street art]. In: Premiia Kandinskogo [Kandinsky Prize]. Available at: http://www.kandinskyprize.ru/timofej-radya-2/ (accessed 10 June 2021). (In Russian)

4 Tkacheva D. S. Mezhdu iskusstvom i obshchestvom. K probleme termina “pablik art” [Between art and society. On the problem of the term “public art”]. Kul'tura i iskusstvo, 2017, no 12. Available at: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/mezhdu-iskusstvom-i-obschestvom-k-probleme-termina-pablik-art (accessed 10 June 2021). (In Russian)

5 Tsygina N. A. Ulichnoe iskusstvo v kontekste sovremennoi vizual'noi kul'tury [Street art in the context of modern visual culture: PhD thesis, summary]. Moscow, 2015. 30 p. (In Russian)

6 Chagina S. Entsiklopediia rossiiskogo ulichnogo iskusstva [Encyclopedia of Russian street art]. Moscow, Artmossfera Publ., 2019. 312 p. (In Russian)

7 Estetika strit-arta: sbornik statei [Aesthetics of street art: collection of articles], under the general editorship K. A. Kukso-Butenko St. Petersburg, Izdatel'stvo SPbGUPTD Publ., 2017. 96 p. (In Russian)

8 Pukhov P. O proekte “Podzhigateliam mostov — posviashchenie” [About the project “Bridge arsonists — dedication”]. Available at: http://www.183art.ru/most/firemost.html (accessed 10 June 2021). (In Russian)

9 McCormick C. Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. Tashen, 2010. 310 p. [ISBN13: 9783836509640] (In English)

10 Harding D. Public art: spornyi termin i osparivaemaia praktika [Public art: a controversial term and a contested practice]. In: PROPUBLICART.RU. Available at: http://www.propublicart.ru/publication? id=10 (accessed 10 June 2021). (In Russian)

11 Shepard Fairey. OBEY: Supply & Demand — The Art of Shepard Fairey. Rizzoli, 2018. 448 p. (In English)