To convey a personal message to society, we prefer creating things that are unique and thought-provoking. Rebelling against the established rules and norms of a society makes us feel empowered. Consequently, beautiful creations come to play and one that I can name is street art.
Street art is an exceptional form of visual art that is exhibited in a public platform such as on buildings, street walls, public transport stations, and many other public places. It is also known as guerilla art, where the artist portrays their personal opinion about the society they are living in.
Now the question comes, “How did street art start?”It is still argued which might be the first street art, but many findings from the primitive era by archaeologists show that people did wall arts and etched their names or tags. In this article, I’ll be discussing the historical background of street art and its pioneers in great detail.
History of Street Art
Leaving a mark or a tag on a wall has been practiced for thousands of years. In the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, there is a contemporary style of graffiti that may be the earliest example. It includes a hand, a foot, a number, and a heart which may symbolize a brothel’s advertisement back in those days.
The grandfather of street art is Joseph Kyselak. His way of writing his name on the walls throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the early 19th century shows the birth of modern graffiti. He inspired the famous phrase "Kilroy was here" during World War II.
When it comes to the contemporary style of street art, it started displaying on the trains and walls. In the 1920s and 1930s, gangsters were responsible for these works in New York. Later on, street art became a cultural movement in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the history of street art, these decades helped in shaping a new era where teens started to express socio-political issues through graffiti. After that, street art grabbed the grown-up’s attention. Furthermore, street art finally received the recognition it deserved and entered the contemporary art era.
Notable Pioneers of Street Art
Because it is unlawful to paint public and private property without authorization, street art began in stealth. When it comes to street art, people frequently have differing viewpoints. To some it is a crime, while others see it as a stunning new kind of culture.
Although street art is illegal and considered a crime, it has been accepted by millions of people as a feasible form of art. The following notable pioneers of street art are Cornbread, Keith Haring and Banksy, etc.
Cornbread, originally named Darryl McCray, is the world’s first graffiti artist. Even though most of you are aware that New York is the home of modern street art, Cornbread from Philadelphia was the one who brought it to a wider audience.
He took a rebellious step at the age of 17 when he leaped a fence off the Philadelphia Zoo. The famous incident where he spray-painted “Cornbread Lives” on the side of an elephant. After that, he became a public speaker and a youth advocate. Besides that, he also developed a fellowship with The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
An early pioneer of the street art era, Keith Haring holds a huge contribution to the 1980s New York art scene. His genre of art style was pop art. For example, his works had sexual allusions to them which signified social activism regarding AIDS and safe sex. As an open homosexual, he supported the LGBTQ community through his art.
Firstly, he started to display his art in subways. He drew on empty portions of the posters with chalks. Then it caught people’s attention as they walked past it. The intention of such an art style was his way of conveying the message that art should be available to everyone.
Despite the fact, his art was appreciated by the majority, but he had to go through a lot of legal fights with the police. Haring’s art may look pretty vibrant and lively, he intended to spread challenging subject matters to the world. Moreover, he used catchy slogans to engulf his audience.
Haring was invited to paint on a piece of the Berlin Wall in 1986 to 'destroy the wall via painting.' He created a vibrant figurative mural in the colors of the German flag, expressing the dream for German reunification between East and West. When the wall was removed in 1989, the art was lost. He wrote in his journal in 1987.
Haring worked in a lighthearted manner that mirrored the topic of his work. While painting, he frequently listened to hip-hop music and painted rhythmic lines to portray the movement and energy that can be seen in so many of his works. He painted on the vinyl tarpaulin.
Keith Haring loved young people and admired their imagination. He always tried his best to encourage them to do their artwork without prejudice. One of his notable works with 900 young people was the mural art on the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. He also took part in charities for young people and painted in children’s hospitals.
An anonymous famous artist who goes by the pseudonym Banksy is from England. He prefers to stay anonymous and work on creating art that talks on serious subject matters that have socio-political issues. 3D, a graffiti artist inspired his works.
Moreover, he is also a film director which nominated him for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for his documentary film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” in 2011. Finally, in 2014, the Webby Awards awarded him the Person of the Year.
Banksy’s art style has dark humor and epigrams. He uses stencils to do his art. He displays his art on public visible platforms such as street walls. However, it remains a debatable topic on how he concealed himself from the crowd while creating these masterpieces.
One of his notable works is the Balloon Girl and the Love is in the Air. The Balloon Girl mural displayed on the Waterloo Bridge and features a little girl reaching out to a red heart-shaped balloon flying away next to a phrase, “There is always hope”. The Love is in the Air in Jerusalem features a masked man throwing a bouquet in response to the violence in Palestine.
Banksy is one of the most famous artists in the entire world. His mysterious style of portraying art in public makes him one of a kind. Due to his notoriety, his art style has been coined the term “Banksy Effect” by fellow street artists.
Street Art Vs. Graffiti : What’s The Difference ?
Graffiti is the most common form of street art but not all street arts are graffiti. Graffiti derives from the Italian word "Graffio," which means "a scrape." Graffiti predates the invention of written language.
But what distinguishes street art from graffiti? There's plenty of space for debate. Street art has broader aims than graffiti even though these works take place without consent, which raises the problem of vandalism.
As a result, one major distinction between graffiti and street art is purpose. Graffiti artists traditionally do not intend or care if the audience understands their work. They're sending messages to other people or a specific group of people who are marking comparable terrain.
Street artists, on the other hand, take the concepts and techniques associated with graffiti and apply them to create art that has a message. In reality, the street art concept continues to establish and it will change. But where did the term "street art" originate?
Graffiti is often a word-based art form, whereas street art is typically an image-based medium. What about the artist, then? Graffiti's history contains creative individuals who had no other means of expressing themselves than a blank wall on the side of a building.
So, we have a good variety of artworks that we sell in our shop. If you want to purchase any of the street art-based works then you can look into our street art collection. There are huge diversities in the catalog which might grasp your attention.
Advertising agencies employ street art in their commercials because it conveys a sense of freshness and vitality. Saks Fifth Avenue in New York recently adopted a street artist's design for their store displays and shopping bags.
You may be wondering if street art is really that relevant. The Internet has a significant impact on street art in today's society. Artists may display their work in front of a global audience. However, many city residents argue that viewing an image on the Internet is never the same as experiencing it in person.
The vitality and liveliness of a major metropolis pervade the street art movement. It will continue to evolve and develop there. How did street art started ? Well, we can still debate on it. However, the rebellious people are the ones who made this subcultural phenomenon in the early 1900s.