A street artist is someone who creates and/or sells their art or craft in public for the pleasure of passers-by.
Some people use the term 'street artist' more broadly and also refer to people involved in busking, such as musicians who sing and/or play instruments, acrobats, jugglers, living statues, performers of street theatre, artists who use pastel crayons to copy famous paintings onto pavements, as well as artists who sell their paintings, portraits (e.g. caricatures), prints, and various crafts.
While some street artists may support themselves by selling a physical commodity like a portrait on paper or a painting upon canvas, performers may encourage payment by having pedestrians show their appreciation by giving coins, usually into a hat or a can. Regardless of the accuracy of the likeness or excellence of the work, portrait artists usually consider payment mandatory - which is why some local governments (in London, for instance) consider it street trading and therefore work requiring a license.
Street artists can be seen throughout the world. In some cities street artists will set up spontaneously wherever they like, but often run the risk of being arrested if municipal ordinances prohibit their display. However in other cities, street artists can be licensed within municipal street artist programs so they may legally sell their artwork. Frequently these municipal street artist programs will describe designated locations where licensed street artists are allowed to display, as well as regulate what they are allowed to sell in an attempt to allow only handmade items of the artist's creation and not the manufactured work of others. San Francisco, Berkeley, and Seattle are American cities that allow the regulation and legal display of street artists and their wares through municipal ordinances.
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles. People engaging in this practice are called street performers, buskers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours.
Street performance dates back to antiquity, and occurs all over the world.
Performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. Performers may do acrobatics, animal tricks, balloon twisting, card tricks, caricatures, clowning, comedy, contortions, escapology, dance, singing, fire skills, flea circus, fortune-telling, juggling, magic, mime, living statue, musical performance, puppeteering, snake charming, storytelling or reciting poetry or prose, street art such as sketching and painting, street theatre, sword swallowing.