Green Street Art

Innovation to reach legality and limit pollution



By Laure Matran

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France



Although graffiti has earned its reputation for a long time already in some people’s hearts, some refractory persist to say that it is illegal pollution on the walls of raging strangers’ properties. Indeed, the law makes no differentiation between graffiti and tags. It will be ideally necessary to reach agreements of such clauses within contracts for helping prevent further visual pollution and defend real street art in our environment.

This paper analyzes all the different alternatives using a multi-criteria decision analysis method. The author suggests that the best solution for graffiti artists who want to be seen as real art makers is to start creating green street art masterpieces. However, the possibility of stimulating people to sustainable art ensure a win-win approach towards starting a legalization process thanks to contracts allowing the sharing of public places between green spray-painted masters and individuals supporting sustainability.

Key Words: Sustainability, Art, Public, Protection, Pollution, Commission, Control


The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.”[1].

Banksy may be right, for instance, according to French law, graffiti is criminal. Condemned by the law, it is considered a deliberate degradation or deterioration of property belonging to another. Graffiti writers who are caught in the act are liable to a fine ranging from 1500 € up to 30 000 € and 2 years of imprisonment in case of heavy damage.

Indeed, in several countries, the law makes no differentiation between authentic performances suspended in museums and those spray-painted on raging strangers’ properties. Nevertheless, for concerned individuals, there is a difference:  commissioned artworks are graffiti” and illegally implanted images are “tags. Who says true and who says false? Although graffiti has earned its reputation for a long time already in the heart of certain circles, some refractory persist to show that it is an illegal act that pollutes the walls of all neighborhoods and it is even called “metastasis”. According to them, graffiti would have a depraved, abandoned visual aspect and would be a sign of mismanagement on the part of the authorities. Moreover, letting graffiti artists perform where and how they wish would be a sign of neglecting, also indicating a lack of interest in one’s own fellow citizens.

Finally, it is less the physical form of the graffiti which disturbs; except if tags are included; that the subjectivity which it lets guess: the individual arrested by graffiti can give free course to his imagination and his anxieties to draw the portrait of his author. Thus, graffiti contributes to the feeling of insecurity that affects urban centers. However, one thing is certain: it is not because graffiti is able to find a place in art exhibitions that it will disappear from the walls and buildings of cities.

To ensure the urban artists and the protecting citizens have a win-win approach towards having public spaces aesthetically spray-painted with masterpieces, it will be ideally necessary for both parties to reach agreements of such clauses within contracts for helping prevent further visual pollution and art critics into our environment.


How contracts can allow artists to practice in public places without being considered as visual polluters?


  1. Develop and highlight the concept of “Reverse graffiti”
  2. Start the legalization process with “legal” graffiti spots
  3. Sensitize artists and public to green street art


  • Develop and highlight the concept of “Reverse graffiti”

Reverse graffiti, also named clean graffiti, is a method of creating temporary images or message on surfaces by removing dirt from it. Cloths or high-power washers can be used to remove dirt on a larger scale. This usage has been controversial and its legality depends on jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, reverse graffiti has been used many times as a form of advertising by businesses. For the marketing team of those businesses, it is a new and sustainable way to bring attention to their products, launch new ones, highlight future events or just increase brand awareness. There are strong benefits to create reverse graffiti: highly targeted geographical placement and lack of competing media in the same space. Even though it is not real art, it can also be done by removing dust with the fingertip from windows or other dirty surfaces, such as writing “Wash me” on a dirty vehicle.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

About the Author

Laure Matran

Lille, France


Laure Matran
 is an MSc student in SKEMA Business School, major in Project and Programme Management & Business Development (PPMBD). This MSc is ranked 3rd in the Eduniversal 2017 rankings of the best Masters, MS and MBA. Previously, she graduated from the Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accounting of the University of Lille 2 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management. She already has some experiences in Project Management especially thanks to an internship in ADEO Services, in Ronchin, France. Adeo is the 3rd largest group of sales of consumer goods for DIY and decorating. It includes various brands present in 12 countries: Leroy Merlin, Bricoman, ZODIO, Weldom, Brico Center, Aki, Kbane, HomesUp, Tikamoon etc. A Project Manager to be…

Laure can be contacted at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/laure-matran-a17b2088/

[1]  Banksy (2006).Wall and Piece. Retrieved October 21, 2017 from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/28811.Banksy