Mural art is a specific style of art as is Graffiti. They can overlap, but essentially do not encompass the same fundamental ethos.
Graffiti by nature, is vandalism in an art form. It can be as meaningless as bathroom scribbles, or as significant as ten story portraits along the side of a building. But even then, Graffiti by nature is illegal. The illegality of it is part of the reason graffiti artists do it. This is especially relevant in a time where gentrification runs rampant in areas where the disenfranchised no longer have a voice.
With Mural Art, the illegality of graffiti doesn’t play as much of a part. Now you can do a “‘mural” in graffiti style letters and esthetics, but it doesn’t make it “graffiti”. Hence the nomenclature of “Urban” or “Street” art.
Mural art is just that, the art form of producing murals
Large scale pieces done on walls either outdoor or indoor, with permission and usually with a commission of some sort. Where as Graffiti is by and large specifically an illegal activity that does the same thing, but most often focuses on the fame of putting a name or character up, with many different focuses that are not limited to but include: social awareness or commentary, the simple act of destruction thru creation, reclamation of “public” spaces, or simply for the personal fame in the subculture.
You’d be hard pressed to find an ACTUAL graffiti artist who basically CAN do a mural but chooses to do a hand tag of their name 10,000 times rather than spend 10 hours on something that might often get painted over. The temporal nature of graffiti also attracts “writers” to participating in the act of Graffiti.
Now I know the argument of “cave paintings” may come up. But this is a mute position. For the simple fact that cave paintings did not have to contend with the culture we live in now which institutes laws and consequences for breaking them. Cave paintings were often documentation of the culture they were made in.
Where graffiti has BECOME that, it wasn’t initially the intention
The first documented graffiti artist, Cornbread, did not start off drawing buffalo he was hunting or hieroglyphs to tell the story of a coronation of new Pharoah. No, he just simply wrote his name for the heck of it.
I recommend the movies “Wild Style” and “Who is Bozo Texino” and the books “Subway Art” and “The Art of Getting Over” for further research.
So NO. Mural art is NOT a form of graffiti art. They are two separate things that overlap, but are not dependent on each other. When examining this question ask yourself this: “If one or the other no longer existed, would the other go away as well?” No. They would still independently stand on their own, as they always have.