Sunday, April 17, 2016

Street Art






I'm a little out of my depth when it comes to street art. I've come to it a little late in the game (and in my life) and I'm still not sure if I understand it entirely. That being said, it still interests me, and one doesn't have to be an expert to enjoy something on a deeper level. 


Of course, I'm not entirely sure why it has so captured my imagination. I sense that unlike gallery art (still something I enjoy[1]), street art usually tries to say something about life or politics. And in that sense, street art is a little crude—just the potion for me. Yet even for the more ambiguous works, there's something to be said for art that everyone can access. Not having to pay for it, or enter a stuffy art gallery, does a lot for any piece of art. [2]

But again, I prefer the kind that says something. Thus I like Banksy, or the above one that uses math functions in a clever way [3]. I mentioned that I came to like street art only lately. Like most people in the middle class, I associated graffiti with urban decay. Now I see it as a statement that represents the people in the neighborhood. A snapshot of a part of the zeitgeist. So even though I want something worthwhile over scrawls—or even the other end of the spectrum: the mural as representing social happiness [4]—I understand that even a few sprays can mean something as well. To want to white wash that is to want to silence speech. [5] 

But I digress. As a writer I am coming to grips with graffiti as character. Since it can speak to the alienation of an individual(s), to the zeitgeist, then it should grow in an arc and help the landscapes I create breathe. I did this in Labyrinth; I hope to improve upon it in the future. 


In the meantime, I walk through streets and past train cars as if I were in a gallery. Here in Spokane the walls are bland, but there's hope in the horizon. For example some train cars can be beautiful. I hope to add them here, and soon. These pictures (save the math one) are all from Szczecin, Poland. What are your thoughts on graffiti? 





[1] Well, with contemporary art—the obvious counterpart to street art—I find it a miss or hit affair with the former representing the vast majority of the cases. That ambiguity that art critics enjoy is not something I care for. A peasant's complaint, I know. 

[2] Again, we can get into the definition of art, but I'd rather not go down that rabbit hole.

[3] I mentioned this in a previous piece of Art is Life; artists using math functions or algorithms to guide their brushes...

[4] Almost communist, if you ask me.

[5] Oh, I know, protect property and all that, but that need to silence, is still something I hate. Not to say I am a saint—I would be just as angry if someone spray painted my car—it's just something to be wary of. I look around many cities and I think of their bland walls as almost—again that word—communist in their oppression.

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