I Heart Street Art
Do you remember when graffiti used to be the bad boy of art? The illegitimate way of expressing yourself in a place where no-one else could reach; spray cans shoved in coat pockets, and friends keeping watch as you leaned precariously over a bridge or ducked behind a newly built fence.
At first, my rebellious streak felt sad when graffiti started to cross over, but these artists were so talented that I couldn’t help but admire what they had done. Painting gigantic pictures with a spray can on the side of a building is something I cannot even comprehend (I can barely spray a metal chair without clogging the nozzle, and I am sure the insect population has suffered because of my overzealous misting).
I have always loved street art, and I think part of it might be because it seems impossible to me that someone could create something so amazing on such a ridiculous scale (never mind a surface that is far from perfect) and still have it make sense from the perspective of us mere, tiny mortals. (Good grief, I just realized there is probably math involved, which definitely rules me out).
Often commissioned, street art is emerging into the mainstream, but still finding its voice in the competitive, commercial world. It tends to be appreciated by companies who are not afraid to make a statement. Boldness does speak, but it isn’t always about shock value. Some artists create work in areas where it often goes unnoticed; a time-consuming expression of who they are, or who they wish they could be. A quiet, forgotten place where they can paint for free; a poignant reflection of something inside them that is often thought-provoking, sometimes beautiful and always unexpected.
I don’t quite understand why we don’t use this type of advertising more often to get our point across; what could be better than hiring creative people to produce an original piece of art that is taller than any billboard and can happily navigate itself around windows and doors? So much more than a political statement or a clever advertisement, street art can be a reflection of where we are in the world, an archived moment in time, and an incredible source of inspiration.
We can go a lifetime without ever knowing what we are capable of, and drawing on any wall used to be frowned upon, but this is a new way of expressing ourselves, and I think we should celebrate it.
The street art above is in Rome, Italy, and was created by the artistic duo, Etam Cru.
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/