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History of Street Art in the UK

  • History of Street Art in the UK world home free email media
September 25, 2014

To paraphrase Blek le Rat, street art could be the most important phenomenon in the history of art itself. Let us consider the fact that there practically isn’t an urban space without pieces of street art. There isn’t a city without a big number of graffiti writers or even urban artists who focus on different kinds of expression. Contemporary urban art owes a big part of its aesthetical achievements to those pioneers of wall writings and train bombing. Everything might have begun with those groups of young people in New York City, but it wasn’t long before this fever covered the isles of Britain… What is more, the reception of the work that had begun in New York was different in every part of the United Kingdom. Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bristol and so on, have started developing distinctive styles which would shape the street art scene of Europe, as well as the rest of the world. Finally, this is not going to be just a story of times gone by and an account of what had been happening with street art, but more a discourse of where street art is going, carried by the power of artistic expression of individuals coming from the cultural space of the United Kingdom…

History of Street Art in the UK
King Robbo x Banksy

Graffiti Comes to England

Just like one could imagine, the scene in the making within the cultural space of UK was greatly influenced by the New York scene. Subway art was perceived to be a “bible of street art”, according to London based artist Remi. In those days, at the beginning of the 1980s, car paint was practically the only tool for writers. The late 1980s in England was the time when hip-hop and electro music cultures started emerging on the radio scene. What is interesting, this was the period when the first graffiti was used for advertising. Soon enough, street art advertizing was on the way to become a “common” phenomenon within the culture… But, let us return to graffiti art. Just like in New York city, London wanted to transform its trains. When Martha Cooper’s work came out, writers knew that they were now a part of a bigger phenomenon. Their drive to create, the urge to brake the law by bombing train carts, appeared to be a global one. The beginning of the last decade of the 20th century brought a collaboration between writers and painters of Europe. It could be said that the interaction between London and Paris, the numerous visits of the artists back and forth, influenced the explosion of various innovative approaches to painting and writing. The rest is history in the making

Next Page: History in the Making

History of Street Art in the UK
History of Street Art in the UK
  • History of Street Art in the UK media

History in the Making

Every discourse on history needs to be not only an attempt to understand where we have come from, but, perhaps more importantly, where we are going. The cultural space of United Kingdom has surely been one of the most important and fruitful arenas of street art. Extraordinary individuals have achieved something which would have probably sounded strange only two decades ago: Street art has come to be an integral and important element in the body of contemporary art. Let us turn to the activities of those individuals, in order to understand how the future story of the history of street art might look like…

History of Street Art in the UK world home media email
Banksy, artwork

Banksy

Is it really necessary to introduce this artist to the community of street art lovers? Banksy has been a part of the culture since the very beginnings of the phenomenon we have come to respect and appreciate. It could be said that this artist represents the visual embodiment of the dry British humor. Perhaps the appeal is rooted in the simple aesthetics of Banksy’s work, or maybe it is the fact that this artist knows how to articulate the significance of the immense symbolic power embedded in the nature of street art? Whatever the answer, Banksy has already left a mark on the history of street art, shaping the cultural space of UK as well as the entire globe. The question is, where is Banksy going from here?

History of Street Art in the UK
Banksy, artwork

Inkie

Inkie is one of the artists who has shaped the street art scene of the UK. He was a part of the group of artists which were arrested during the infamous Operation Anderson in 1989. Among the contemporary British street artists, he is highly respected. Inkie is a true paradigm of the capabilities of street artists to transform the approaches to various forms of artistic expression. He is a renowned artist in the world of gaming industry, being on of the first street artist to conquer this field. He teaches graphic design to youths and college students. This fall, Inkie is curating a group show in Vienna, a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the heritage of the Bristol street art scene…

History of Street Art in the UK
Inkie

Stik

A graffiti writer whose status as an internationally recognized street artist exploded from the beginning of the 21st century. Stik’s imagery is now recognizable on the walls across different continents and his mural work is a reflection of a unique style. The artist is devoted to charity work, producing artwork commissioned by organizations which nurture humanitarian activities. The recognition of Stik’s work has been proven in the vast arena of the art market, since the prices of his pieces have been rising during the last couple of years…

Stik, artwork

My Dog Sighs

My Dog Sighs is one of the most inspirational street artists working today. His love for street art has manifested itself in the Free Art Friday project, a phenomenon that has become a globally recognized movement. This artist has changed the ways of communication with the public during a decade of leaving artwork on the streets for people to find. Recently, he has talked to Widewalls about the nature of his work and plans he has for the future… The creative process of My Dog Sighs, infused with melancholy, reflects the nature of consumerist tendencies of contemporary societies and, in a way, the role of street art – a force which stands in the way of the massive power that is popular culture

History of Street Art in the UK
My Dog Sighs

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