As my contribution to the course blog, I have decided to write on the presence and views of street art in our society. Growing up in Minneapolis, I was exposed to a good deal of street art. From tags and throw-ups to full pieces, I’ve viewed and participated in a fair amount of work across the board. In this blog, I’d like to briefly discuss the views that society has on the street art world.
It is my belief that popular culture has associated street art with negative parts of society. I have talked to many people who have seen it as some sort of rebellious youth culture or even gang-related activity. While there are certain artists who would fall under those categories, the majority of artists that I have met and worked with were simply expressing themselves through the medium of street art. While I understand and mostly agree with the fact that street artists are most often not given permission to use a certain wall, sometimes that wall is the only place that a piece can go. If you were to give me a canvas and hang up my finished work in a gallery somewhere, it wouldn’t have the same sort of message as it would if I scoped out a building and chose to put that same piece up there. So in this case, there is inherent value in the medium that the artist is taking advantage of.
I have included three images with my entry, each just scratching the surface of a much deeper world. The first image is simply a wall with a bunch of tags and throw-ups on it that I encountered on a walk the other day. There isn’t anything all that special about it, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that the wall is beautiful, but it does represent a growing culture in its simplest form.
More and more common, especially here in Portland, I have seen walls more like the second image, which was under a bridge that I encountered on that same walk. While there are a lot of pieces that I don’t find beautiful, it is still someone’s expression and art, and I don’t feel that I have a right to destroy that art. There are however, many who would disagree with me and say that since the art was on their wall, they have a right to do with it as they please.
Finally, the third image is a piece of art that my brother did in recent years. He uses the techniques and styles of street art in fine art pieces. Looking at this piece, I do not think of it as a stretch to imagine walking down the street and seeing this piece on a wall or somewhere and it’s meaning to be affected by its placement. It is in this respect that I find street art so attractive, finding a place for your art where it will make a larger impact than on a canvas in an art gallery.
While I do not believe this to be an eye-opening piece of writing, nor do I expect it to change anyone’s mind about street art, I simply wanted to put out my feelings and views on an aspect of pop culture that I am connected with and feel under-represented in.