Street Art – Graffiti’s Evolution
The Parisienne chalk pavement artists were probably the first true Street Artists, but their work was impermanent. And whilst early religious art was both prolific and popular, it has always been confined to the interiors of buildings.
Today’s Street Art is exterior, more permanent and often on a very grand scale.
So too with the work of Graffiti Artists, and it is from this medium (with much overlapping) that Street Art has evolved. Once shunned and persecuted, some Graffiti Artists were simply talented but frustrated artists and many now find themselves given access to a city’s buildings to decorate while afforded grants or other forms of financial aid for their efforts. Many, like Banksy, have achieved fame over former notoriety.
Nowadays Street Art manifests as a visually eclectic and boldly enlivening global art form.
Some Street Artists may be self-funded, seeking only to have their work and talent exposed to the public. They will often utilise places off the beaten track that need a little cheering.
Some Street Artists are contracted to depict local cultural themes.
Street Art often carries a social or political message.
It is important to many communities that their local heroes and personalities feature large.
An artist may chip away at an existing surface to create a pixelated image – or apply their work to rock faces.
Or they may apply sculptural figures or collage.
While others can warp our sense of perspective.
Local councils often invite Street Artists to create vivid, bold and expressive works to enliven their city’s environ. Many are on such a scale that they leave an impactful legacy on the city and become common landmarks.
Advertisers are not unaware of Street Art’s impact either.
Many works are comic or surreal and applied purely to entertain.
Some works mark (or deliberately obscure) entrances to Clubs, Bars or Industry.
Cities will often permit Street Artists to apply their work in order to ‘beautify’ eyesores or to ‘hide in plain sight’ the derelict or mundane.
Art should, and often does, challenge: Street Art is no different, often poking fun at a society’s mores and bringing a smile to the lips of the passers-by.
Graffiti meets Street Art – crossover territory.
Some excellent Street Art can also be found in underground rail stations and connecting tunnels enlivening bland walls in a public space.
Whatever the medium or style, these talented Street Artists have left their indelible mark on contemporary society and many a Renaissance Artist would surely have envied their commercial exposure.