Thursday, May 5, 2011

Since street art is so diverse and spans almost every continent in the world, I figure that I have to find a way to focus my research so that I don't go dancing off into too many directions...

I am starting my research by checking out some major works by famous street artists around the world. I purchased Nicholas Ganz's book Graffiti World Street Art from Five Continents to learn a little bit about a bunch of artists. From here I will choose 4-5 artists and delve deeper into their work. I already know I want to study Banksy and perhaps, Shepard Fairey. The other slots are currently up for grabs.

The book is a compilation of street art from all over the world. Rather than delve deeply into each artist presented, the book provides a brief overview of style and showcases a handful of pieces from the artist. There are many artists that I find to be intriguing. Narrowing my search down to a handful may prove difficult.

On the other hand, the large amount of artists presented in Ganz's book is a reminder of the huge number of artists out there that have much to say, much to share, but still lack the forum to do so. Instead of presenting their work in galleries they have chosen to use a far more public forum like a wall or building. It must be cathartic, to just create something that you know at least one other person will see. Illegal, yes, but cathartic nonetheless.

Off to continue reading through Ganz's book...

Ganz, Nicholas. (2009). Graffitti World: Street Art From Five Continents. Abrams.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yarn Bombing

It seems that street art is not relegated to just spray paint and stencils but can also include art forms like knitting. According to the Boston Globe, "guerrilla knitters" are taking part in the street art movement by decorating lampposts, fences, trees, and even front yards. This practice, dubbed "yarn bombing," can "range from sleeves on parking meters to tubes on tree limbs to sweaters on statues." In Mexico, Magda Sayeg knitted together afghans and covered an entire city bus in her creation.

Although yarn bombing is still considered to be illegal (since the knitters are defacing public or private property), many believe that graffiti knitting falls on the "meeker end" of the street art scale. Jessica Glesby, a graffiti knitter, feels that "yarn bombing is also intended to let people interact with thier urban landscape." Her creations, which she sometimes considers activist projects, are intended "to create dialogue and discussion."

After reading this article I found myself enjoying the street art scene even more. Unlike most art galleries or museums, it seems as if any type of art form can be exhibited - even something like knitting which is rarely, if ever, seen in a gallery.

Matchan, Linda. (2011, February 23). Watch your streets - knitters are on the loose. Boston Globe, pp. A1, A8.

Click here for article.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tiny Street Art

If there is one thing that I have found during my initial exploration of street art, it is the wondrous variety of subjects, mediums, and even sizes. I suppose I should not be too surprised. Art is all about variety. But, I would have never considered stickers or miniature clay figures a form a street art.

Case in point...a fellow art explorer (to whom I am grateful for sharing) let me borrow a book highlighting the street art of Slinkachu. Slinkachu creates miniature art installations - and I mean miniature, about one to two inches - that he places throughout big cities (London, Barcelona, Amsterdam). He claims that his installations "reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city." He also is creating a project during which he decorates snails and places them back in their natural environment. Click here to check out some of Slinkachu's work.

Slinkachu, Initials. (2011, April 15). Slinkachu. Retrieved from

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Growing Interest...

I had been toying with a subject for my research project over the past three months. I knew I wanted to go in an artistic direction - perhaps something with my scrapbooking or stamping obsession - but I had yet to pick a topic...

A couple of years ago I was introduced to street art. I had a love/hate relationship with this artistic medium. I loved the art itself. The sometimes quirky, sometimes politically charged, and sometimes downright beautiful images appealed to my multifarious taste in art. But, I had difficulty with the medium itself. Most street art is exhibited illegally. Most owners of buildings, signs, walls, and bridges do not choose to have an art form exhibited on their property. The art may in fact make the otherwise ugly building, sign, wall or bridge look better, but that lack of choice in the matter bothered me.

I was reminded again of street art last week when I watched the documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" (which I will elaborate upon in a future posting). The passion and dedication of the street artists touched me in a profound way and hence, I found I had finally chosen a WISE project topic. I wanted to learn more about why these people found such joy in posting their stickers around town or painting their feelings on a wall that would soon fade in the sun. Why create something that will not last?

These questions along with many others will frame the rest of my journey into this topic. I hope that you enjoy coming along with me...