A street artist is a person who creates their art or craft in public, most usually on streets, for monetary reward. Some artists also sell their art or craft. Artists include portrait artists, caricaturists, artists who replicate famous paintings on the street itself or on large canvases, hair braiders, friendship bracelet makers and many others.
The term 'street artist' is sometimes used more broadly to mean any persons involved in street performance or busking. These include musicians, acrobats, jugglers, living statues, and street theatre performers.
Street artists receive monetary reward for their art or craft either by donations being given in a hat, bottle or can or by the selling of their art or craft to the public. Some jurisdictions consider the selling of street art as street trading which therefore requires a license.
Street artists can be seen throughout the world. In some countries street artists will set up spontaneously wherever they like, but may run the risk of being moved on or even arrested by the police if municipal ordinances prohibit their display or their actions are against the law. In other countries, street artists can be licensed by the local or municipal authorities so they may legally sell their artwork. These municipal street artist licences usually place limitations on where the artist can perform as well as regulate what they are allowed to sell. Limitations on what the artists can sell is often the authority's attempt to allow only handmade items of the artists' creation and not the manufactured work of others. San Francisco, Berkeley, and Seattle are American cities that regulate the display and trade of street artists.
In New York City, street artists have an advocacy group that has won numerous Federal lawsuits on their free speech rights.