The term “street art” is used to describe a variety of art that has been created for public display. It is a subgenre of contemporary art that uses the street as a canvas and usually reflects social, political, or environmental issues.
It is considered a form of expression often viewed as an illicit act, and it is illegal to create street art on public property. However, artists have successfully established their work within the public eye through various mediums and techniques.
Roots of street art
The earliest roots of street art can be traced back to the 1960s, as New York was on the brink of bankruptcy and a wave of creative kids took to the streets with a paintbrush in hand. The artworks were primarily in the form of signatures and lettering but soon evolved into full-scale murals covering subway cars.
As the movement grew, street artists became a fixture in the New York scene and influenced other cities around the world. Many of them were influenced by rap, hip-hop, and punk music, as well as the countercultures that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.
Experimentation with new media
In the 1990s, some street artists began experimenting with new media, such as video projections and LED lights. These are great ways to add texture and depth to your art, and they can be very effective in changing the perception of an area of the city.
Centered on graffiti
Traditionally, street art centered on graffiti, but now it encompasses several different forms of artistic expression. This includes murals, carved pieces, and installations. Most importantly, it is considered a form of socially conscious art with a political message. The art typically aims to challenge the status quo and inspire change.
Most famous street artist
One of the most prominent street artists is Shepard Fairey, best known for creating Barack Obama’s iconic “Hope” poster. He also deeply understands the political and historical context behind his artwork and has helped shape how people view political issues through his work. He is also a prominent figure in the world of entrepreneurship, having launched OBEY clothing and a range of other businesses.
Book to read to start with street art
A great place to start is with the Lonely Planet Street Art book, which briefly introduces 42 of the world’s most popular graffiti cities and suggests neighborhoods to explore. It is not an extensive guide, but it provides a snapshot of the culture and helps you to put together your own bucket list.
Preserving street art
It is important to remember that any art, especially one painted in the street, is liable to be damaged by time and weather. It isn’t easy to restore a piece of street art, but some artists try to personally touch up their works in situ whenever possible. A specialist may be able to advise you on how to restore your piece of street art, but it is also essential to be aware of the conditions to which it was painted and the elements to which it will be exposed.