Street art encompasses a variety of art forms. Guerrilla art, urban art and graffiti are all “street art.” You can’t call it underground because it’s created in public spaces for public viewing, but there’s definitely an underground vibe to appreciating the influence it has on the art scene.
What began as graffiti and vandalism has evolved into guerrilla art produced to make a statement or to beautify an area, typically urban. Despite the risks and challenges of installing art in public spaces, creating art in this manner enables artists to reach an audience beyond the guardianship and closed doors of the gallery world.
Street art goes beyond graffiti’s spray paint with expression in other media like stencils, stickers, tiling, even LED art. Sometimes the jolt of street art is delivered by where it shows up as opposed to what it may say.
Isn’t it ironic that art is always eluding restriction? Keith Haring a New York City street artist from the 80’s began putting up works on an unattended wall in the Bowery. Other artists followed, as well as the fame of the wall. The wall later became privately “managed” open to artists by commission or invitation only.
These days there are artists who have become well known for their work with international acclaim making the transition from the street to the mainstream. Famous artists like Shepard Fairey are huge commercial successes working closely with corporate designers in high profile commercial projects. Funny how the rebels have come full circle, isn’t it?
Thanks to Banksy you now have a great reason to visit Europe, to take a street art tour! People want to understand and appreciate the art form. Go for it. There’s much to appreciate. Learn the history of the various styles, the artists, where their works can be found, where it’s all going, and the $64,000 question, where can I buy some, and how much is it!?
Graffiti can be cryptic with symbols and wild letters converging in a kaleidoscope of color with hidden messages. Street art wears the white hat with messages that appeal to all. Despite the differences, the objective of gaining recognition is a common denominator.