Graffiti includes many creative possibilities and the artists who practice it like to vary the pleasures and mix these possibilities. The "perso" is actually the realization of a character by the artist in his street art artwork, and this character is often the hallmark of the artist, recognizable among all, wherever the place where the graffiti has been realized.
To vary the shape of their signature, many graffiti artists have evolved their tag by developing the lettering aspect of their creation. Then, to go even further and stand out from the others, they included in their lettering a character that often replaces one of the letters of their signature. And this character will become an integral part of the graffiti's signature.
Other street art artists prefer not to include the character in their signature, but affix it to the side, below, above. This leaves them more possibilities in the creation and staging of their graffiti than putting it as a letter in their signature, which is more restrictive.
Finally, some graffiti artists have specialized in the character and it is the theme that becomes the basis of their creation. No more question of integrating it as a letter of their signature, or as part of their graffiti, the character becomes the central theme of their work and comes in all the colors, all the positions, all the scenes described by the artist.
The style of character is varied, can be inspired by cinema, comics or be created by the imagination of the artist himself. Humorous or terrifying, it was popularized by Bad Boys characters from the USA in the 80s.
The character is often diverted from its original function, either in its very form or in the actions it is performing. The benevolent characters of Disney or Ronald Mac Donald icon for example, are often bloody or equipped with axes or chainsaws, to get them out of this childish universe. They become a way for the graffiti artist to convey his message.
From wall to canvas, the characters are also very popular with street art lovers and artists are more and more inclined to reproduce on canvas the same works they made on the walls.