From being dismissed as illegal vandalism to selling for millions of dollars in galleries — street art is going mainstream, and it's appealing to investors for a simple reason: It's cheap at the start.
Steve Lazarides, the man credited with bringing well-known street artist Banksy into the commercial art industry told CNBC that street art boasts a strong return on investment.
"Going back a decade, if you take one of those artworks that I sold for 149.99 pounds ($192.10), something of that value at that time would be worth upwards of 300,000 to 400,000 pounds ($384,000 to $512,000). So that's a pretty good return in your investment in a 10-year period," said Lazarides, who now owns Lazarides Rathbone, a gallery in London dedicated to selling street art.
From 149.99 to 400,000 would be a more than 266,584 percent increase.
The art movement has origins in graffiti on walls and public transport, but art investors found a way to buy into those works. Most famously, the piece of the wall where British artist Banksy painted "Girl With a Balloon," was removed and auctioned for over 73,000 pounds. Property prices for buildings in London's Shoreditch, which feature such iconic artwork, have soared.
Within the gallery space, artists are selling canvases, screen prints and even photographs in what is now a multi-million dollar market.