Street art has gained an audience and is gradually being accepted in society. This is due to graffiti art being utilized for commercial purposes as seen in advertisements, and the existence of different graffiti movements, such as GreenGraffiti, where pressurized water is used to create clean designs on the surface of public areas (Imam). Urban art is not just vandalism, for it has become a style that advertising agencies pay attention to now because it appeals to their target audiences. There have also been movements made to make graffiti socially relevant and acceptable to people.
Artists do not only use their art to express their emotions, but also to give importance to social issues occurring in the country. An example of such work is that of Bastardilla, whose artwork concerns the homeless and indigenous people, and this is considered protest art seen in Columbia. People may, at times, praise her work, but at the same time are given a reminder for what the real social issue is (Manco 10). Urban art is not just used for artists to be expressive and creative with what they can do with their mural-sized canvases. Their art can be utilized to help people be aware of social issues.
This goes to show that street art is not just an aesthetic, but also symbolism for issues that are not well known. Through painting these on walls seen by the general public, more people will stop to look and realize that there are still imperfections that need to be fixed. URBAN ART CONTROVERSIES Contrary to popular belief, urban art and vandalism are not one in the same. According to Sir Joey Quines, an art teacher from Assumption College Makati, street art serves its purpose[,] but this does not apply to random scribbles on walls we call vandalism. [V]andalism and street art are NEVER the same.
Yet, despite hearing this input from a professional, people still regard both as socially unnacceptable and illegal. The irony of urban art appreciation. There will always be urban art controversies, and this can be seen in an article Arifa Akbar and Paul Vallely wrote for The Independent concerning the case of London graffiti artists being arrested for defacing public property while the work of the same group was to be put in display in a New York gallery: London is to street art at the start of the 21st century, what Paris was for Impressionism at the start of the 20th, [Bob] says with unfeigned immodesty.
And yet we hate graffiti more than anywhere else in the world. England is by far and away the most draconian for punishments for what are only economic crimes. Truly, street art is not acceptable in the present because it is considered vandalism. However, the analogy of Paris to impressionist art in the 20th century to London to street art in the 21st century may give hope to street art. An example of why the spark of hope may remain is the painter Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was considered to be a crazy man whose artwork never sold during the time he lived.
No one really appreciated his work and he was able to sell only one of the many he did. However, today in the 21st century, Van Goghs art style is praised. This can be related to urban art since it is considered to be a crude and unorthodox form of art, but despite this, it does have the ability to gain an audience and praise in the future. However, this concern does not only pertain to England. There is another report written for The Art Newspaper regarding a Canadian city beginning to accept graffiti as art, yet there are still oppositions to this move.
The city of Toronto formed a committee of urban art specialists in hopes of preserving the street art, however their attempts were rivaled by the building owners and city officials saying that these illustrations were still unacceptable. In spite of this event, the inhabitants of the city have begun to take a liking to urban art; there has even been a location known as Graffiti Alley where the works in Toronto are found (Humber). There is an irony when it comes to urban art appreciation. There are movements made to destroy this form of art, but there are also groups of people who desire to keep these designs on public walls (Imam).
There has always been a problem with urban art, and this is the preservation and elimination of the said form. It is understandable, though, because most people are still more comfortable seeing art displayed in galleries, and only a number are interested in losing themselves in a city hunt for the greatest street art. Adapting and accepting urban art. Although there have been very controversial reports regarding the state of urban art and people surrounding this concept, debating on whether to accept this or not, there are certain cities that have accepted it as a part of their culture.
These communities have recognized the potential of street art and decided to adapt it as a part of their districts. Graffiti in America began as just art seen on the streets in New York in the 1970s, then grew to be part of the culture. Evidence of this can be seen in Brooklyn, New York, where art tours pass by certain street artworks, according to Dave Betts (Imam). Recognition of graffiti in New York was a small step to a great development in the area: urban art acceptance and appreciation.
However small the origins of this art was in New York, it soon grew to be a part of the citys culture. Verification of such acceptance is evident in Dave Betts statement referring to art appreciation tours acknowledging the existance of urban art located all over the city. From small beginnings in New York, urban art became a part of the culture and this city was not afraid to show it. URBAN ART RECOGNITION AND SUPPORT People have begun to admit that urban art is a part of their city and some areas have preserved works of different internationally known artists.
It was reported that a stenciled artwork located in the city of Leipzig entitled Madonna from artist Blek Le Rat, has been accepted on a list of historical monuments in Saxony. In other cities such as Aachen, Zurich, and Bristol, other urban art works have been placed under a protected status to prevent them from being defaced by the public (Schilling). Urban artists and their claim for government support. In an interview with Archie Geotina, a street artist from the Philippines, he discussed the need for urban art to be supported instead of it being preserved by the governments.
He stated that as a street artist, there is always the danger of your work being defaced. When asked whether street art should be preserved, he contradicted this statement by saying that preserving this form of art would destroy the fundamental concept of graffiti: liberation. Street art is designed in such a way that it adapts to its surroundings, and the art becomes a narrator of the events in the area. This is why it becomes timeless in a sense that the art acts as a narrative, and as the story continues, more art will be placed on the streets as the story goes on and on (Manco 8).
According to Mr. Geotina, he believes that street art should not be preserved by the local governments, and that the artists should be supported instead. ¦ [T]he local Governments should support us, [s]hould give us that money and see what we can achieve with it. Some of us have really big dreams for our city walls[,] you know. I say, dont leave the city decoration to people who dont really care for decorating the city. Leave it to people who have the passion for it. The beauty of street art is that it was made of the streets.
It is designed in such a way that it was not made to be put on display forever because it becomes a sort of narrative. Street art was made for the moment, and once the moment has passed, it will no longer be relevant. Another street artist, Dean Africa, sympathizes with Mr. Geotina with his regard towards street art preservation, stating that the government should promote the local and public arts instead, and see the artistic potential of these local artists. With the governments attention on these local artists, they can alternatively use their abilities to develop Filipino art.
The significance of urban art. As stated earlier, there have been reports of different urban art movements that were created to make the pubic more aware of the social issues. This is what makes urban art important however rebellious the art may seem. The artist Banksy is an example of a thinking street artist: his art has been imitated, copied, and spread throughout society, allowing it to be reached by a large audience. The effect of this is that more people understand the truth behind advertising and mass media, allowing them to mock the process (Banksy, Shove, and Potter).
The work of Banksy has been highly coveted to the point where people have stolen his work from the streets. He is also admired by so many people that he is imitated, and these aspiring artists post their own renditions of his work on the streets. Due to this, a large audience was conceived. The power of ones admiration and obsession for an urban artist can eventually lead to a large audience who begin to pay attention to the cryptic messages in the art. A significant example is Faireys movement MAYDAY. It became a historical event, which made art an important tool.
Fairey, fearless of joining the helter-skelter of politics, exercised his freedom of expression. With the art he created during his time, he achieved the highest achievement art has: to bring democracy forward (DAmbrosio 34). Fairey became a revolutionary by throwing himself into reality by fighting with his art through addressing social issues with this movement. The effect that his work had on people is what art is truly made for: to suggest ideas or themes and involve the audience. URBAN ART SHOULD BE SUPPORTED As opposed to what people say when describing urban art, it is not vandalism.
It is a method urban artists use to spread word about social issues affecting the country, since displaying the word on the streets will garner more attention from the public. Some people take notice of these works and praise them for such designs, while others simply scoff at the designs saying it is rubbish. Contrary to popular belief, a street artist himself stated that urban art should not be protected for it would destroy the life and meaning of street art. Instead, the urban artists should be supported by their local government units.
If urban artists shed light on social, political and cultural issues that need attention, the logical response to this act would be to support them. Word about such issues will be much easier to relay to the community involved if they were seen painted on the streets. Urban artist Banksy stated that displaying your work on public property is the best way to be seen, for the designs will be immediately immersed into an audience. Urban art is not vandalism, but a representation of social issues the public should be aware of.
The local government units must pay attention to urban artists and their techniques in publicizing issues relevant to the community. The methods of these urban artists are in no way harmful, for these art works are done by artists who care about their surroundings and the people involved. The intention they have for their audience is to make them more acquainted with the social issue. After the artist has done his or her job introducing the social issue to the audience, it is the viewers discretion on what he or she will do in response: to react to the issue or to ignore it.
In addition to this, the designs of these urban artists can be utilized as aesthetics to create a concrete art jungle which people can enjoy. Urban art is not illegal, but it is only said to be so since it is socially unacceptable for most people to paint on the walls in the street. These artists can get caught for doing something they are passionate about, and though they should be frightened of the authorities who hunt them down, they are still unfazed by them.
These artists continue this lifestyle of putting art in the streets, simply for the love of it. Through their art, they flaunt their techniques and reveal issues that more people should be aware of, a responsibility that should be done by the governing system. It should be a requirement for the government to keep the public informed about issues relevant to the locals, and it is apparent that the urban artists or vandals are those who actually represent these concerns through their work.
Africa, Dean. Personal interview. 2 Jan. 2013. Akbar, Arifa, and Paul Vallely. Graffiti: Street art or crime? The Independent. 16 July 2008. 8 Nov. 2012. . Web. Banksy, Banging Your Head against a Brick Wall. United Kingdom: Weapons of Mass Disruption, 2001. PDF File. ”. Wall and Piece. London, UK: Random House. 2007. Print. Banksy, Gary Shove, and Patrick Potter. Banksy: You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat and If You Were Not You Would Know About It. Darlington: Carpet Bombing Culture, 2012. Print. Cobcobo, Joey. Personal interview. 3 Jan. 2013.