Street art is a style and variety of contemporary visual art, in which the background for the placement of works of artists is the surrounding space of cities. Many works of street art have a pronounced social orientation and are of a protest nature. Representatives of this art create street masterpieces not only for self-expression, but also with the aim of drawing public attention to important everyday problems.
Street art is a multifaceted art with a huge genre and ideological diversity. There are no clear rules and norms in it, but there is an attractive feeling of creative freedom. Street art is always open to a huge number of ordinary people, and not hidden in the depths of the halls of museums, exhibitions and galleries.
Types of street art
Street art combines many different types, among which people are most famous:
- Inscriptions. Usually they contain a stylized signature of the artist, the name (nickname) of a team of authors, or words (phrases) that are capacious in meaning. They differ in font type, number of colors, readability and other parameters.
- Drawings. In many cases, they are used in conjunction with lettering to enhance the impact on the viewer. Along with simple monochrome images, colorful multicolored compositions with a carefully thought-out plot are often found on the streets.
- Stencils. Ideal for multiple reproduction of images or lettering. They are widely used for the purpose of protest by radical people and activists of political parties.
- Murals. They represent huge artistic compositions on various topics. Serve as an original means of decorating unsightly surfaces of the overall walls of buildings and fences. The authorities of many modern cities welcome the creation of colorful murals and even hold contests for their production among artists.
- Stickers. They are found on the streets in the form of small stickers. In the minds of many people, they are associated with outdoor advertising, therefore they are often negatively perceived by city dwellers.
- Posters or posters. They are much inferior in popularity compared to other types of street art. They are usually used in the course of events to draw public attention to a specific problem.
- Installations. They have a characteristic feature the volumetric images. They can vary significantly in materials used, shape, size and location. Every year, 3D installations with visual effects are gaining more and more popularity.
Street art works can also be divided according to their social orientation into the following types:
- protest or rebellious;
- promoting the ideas of a certain subculture (punks, skinheads, football fans, rappers);
- artistic (to decorate the surrounding urban space).
Street art has traditionally been viewed by its followers as an alternative to commercial art and annoying outdoor advertising. But street art has not only a positive, but also a negative side. Some artists, when creating their works, commit acts of outright vandalism in relation to municipal and private property.
Street art history
The history of street art dates back to ancient times. For a long time, unknown street artists have decorated the walls of houses and fences with drawings or inscriptions in all corners of the earth. But this art form was usually strictly forbidden by the authorities, and its followers were severely punished for breaking the law.
The USA is considered to be the birthplace of modern street art. Here in Philadelphia, in the late 1960s, a young man named Derryl McCrae (nicknamed Kornbred) fell hopelessly in love with a girl. Wanting to impress his chosen one, he painted all the surrounding areas of the city with a simple inscription “Cornbread Loves Cynthia”. The local authorities did not like his work, as a result, the young artist even went to jail for a short time.
McCrae’s idea was quickly taken up by the Philadelphia youth. By that time, industrial production of paint in aerosol cans had long been established in the United States. Soon the streets of the city were filled with inscriptions and drawings for every taste.
From Philadelphia, street art, or rather, one of its manifestations, graffiti quickly reached New York. For several years, the teenagers of this metropolis have competed among themselves in artistic talent. Tagging was especially popular during this period the art of applying the author’s signature on the walls with an indication of his nickname and the number of the quarter.
But already in the early 1970s.
new types of street art began to emerge and numerous other styles emerged:
Graffiti gradually became a real disaster for all major US cities. Artists not only painted the walls of houses, but also painted subway cars beyond recognition. The situation became unmanageable and caused a sharp negative reaction from the majority of residents.
In the early 1980s, the American authorities found a competent solution to the problem street art received official recognition as a new form of art. Exhibitions of works by artists began to be massively held in the salons, and specialized platforms for creativity appeared on the streets of cities. At the same time, the fight against the uncontrolled coloring of urban areas intensified, and numerous public organizations were created to oppose street vandalism.
In Western Europe, the situation developed according to a similar scenario, but with a slight delay, and with the collapse of the USSR, street art reached Eastern Europe. Currently, in all civilized countries, the authorities in every possible way encourage artistic street art and wage a merciless fight against vandals.
Today, beautifully designed street art in many cities, especially murals, attract millions of tourists every year. Thanks to outstanding artwork, the depressed areas and outskirts of European and American cities are gradually becoming vibrant and attractive for people’s lives.
Notable street art artists
The names of the most famous street art artists are well known to people of progressive views. The greatest contributions to the development of this art were made by:
- Banksy (Banksy) an unknown English artist living in Bristol and hiding under a pseudonym. He is world famous for the acute social themes of his works and for the sale at auction of one of his paintings, which self-destructed immediately after the purchase.
- Jean-Michel Basquiat is a flamboyant street artist, a recognized master of stencil street art. An active opponent of racism and colonialism. Basquiat became famous early, but died at the age of 27 from a drug overdose. Today, the price of his best works at the most prestigious art auctions is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
- C215 is the most famous French street artist specializing in portraiture. He often travels the world and creates unique stencil works in large cities at the request of local authorities. He especially loves to portray cats and his only daughter, Nina.
- Shepard Fairey is a master of political poster in street art. His Hope poster with an unusual portrait of Barack Obama in 2008 not only brought the artist wide fame, but also significantly influenced the US presidential campaign, changing the mood of voters.