In London, everywhere you turn around, you see some form of street art. It is as present as the 5 o’clock tea.
I want to share with you some of my favorite pieces of street art. But before that, maybe you are interested to get a little bit of the background.
Street art started out very secretly because it was and still is illegal to paint public and private property without permission. Art experts claim that the movement began in New York in the 1960s, when young adults sprayed words and other ima
ges on walls and trains.
But should street art be illegal or considered vandalism? This question is quite difficult to be clearly answered as, if you have the permission of public authorities, then the urban artworks are considered as public art. But many artists paint without any permissions and are called vandals or even criminals. They are confident in their ideas and feel freely to show them in any place they wish to. So, why should they be banned for that?
Street artists do their work for a reason. Some of them do not like artists who make so much money in galleries and museums. They choose street art because it is closer to the people. Some artists try to express their political opinion in their work. They often want to protest against big firms and corporations. Others like to do things that are forbidden and hope they don’t get caught. In its rebel expression, street art is democratic. “It’s not limited in that curatorial sense of how one finds art in a museum,” says Rafael Schacter, author of The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. “It’s a multitude of conversations being had between the public, the artist and the built environment. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue.”
One of my favorite street artist, Stik, calls them all painters. I would call them writers. After all, that is mostly what they do: write, again and again, their names on brick walls, down alleyways, in stickers plastered over utility poles, slapped on the back of No Parking signs. Some create collages using carefully arranged stencils. Others paint free-hand: a world of color, shapes, and mystery.
People often have different opinions about street art. I know some people don’t think of street art as art at all, but trash: destruction of property, evidence of gangs and others think it is a very beautiful new form of culture.
Today graffiti and street art have found their way throughout the commercial world, from fashion to adverts on the television. This development has now seen street artists gaining jobs for their skills, working as a freelance designer or in fashion industry.
All of these street artists, from Banksy – one of the most influential and most recognized artist ever of street art whose true identity is still today unknown – to Stik, ROA, Robbo, Paul Insect, Phlegm, Thierry Noir, 616, C215, Ronzo and many, many others, make London a pre-eminent city within the biggest artistic movement of the 21st Century.
Let’s have a look on London street art & graffiti by highlighting the work of Stik. His simple and whimsical figures have become a feature of East London in recent years.
This is just a tiny sample of the many pieces you can find around the city. The more you explore the more you will discover. And I think that it is so terrific that we can be witnesses of the rise of new arts, be delighted with them and be inspired for our own art feats.
Happy hunting and…mon the biff!