Editions in Urban Art: Bring the Street into Your Home

May 30, 2015

This month has seen Widewalls exploring the theme of editions in art, a generic term for a series of artworks. Through a series of articles such as Editions in Photography, Editions in the Art Market and Editions – A Good Way to Start a Collection, we have attempted to give some guidance through the maze that is editions. Here we turn out attention to the world of urban art and street art, which by its very definition belongs on the street, but with its increased popularity and a host of galleries opening the doors to contemporary urban art, the scene has become a fertile area for developing various editions. With the urban art scene showing no signs of abating and a great number of urban and street artists now running successful studio careers, the chance of picking up an original canvas artwork for a reasonable price is decreasing and beyond the average person. However, urban and street artists have been quick to realise that there is a great demand for their works and have been perfectly placed to use the idea of editions for maximum impact. Here we explore some of the urban art editions that are available and a reasonable way to get some street art into your home.

Pick Your Favorite Urban Art Edition!

Art Book Editions

The world of urban art and graffiti is widely covered when it comes to books, with many being readily and cheaply available. However, when it comes to picking a book to add as part of your art collection, it pays to keep an eye open for the often limited artist’s art book editions. Excellent examples include Paranoia on Paper, the book by Sickboy and Word to Mother, which came as a collector’s box set, limited to just 50 copies and each book being individual with the artists customising a page in each copy on the day of release. British artist Xenz released his Art of Xenz book in 2013, the collector’s box edition including an original piece of artwork, while Borondo released his first art book earlier in 2015, Memento Mori, the limited edition of 100 with a silk screen print and signed by the artist selling out instantly. While the limited art book editions are not cheap, they represent a good investment as they are often signed and include original artworks.

Xenz book image courtesy of Xenz / Paranoia on Paper - Sickboy & Word to Mother Book. Fluorescent Smogg via lazinc

Urban Art Clothing

Clothing has always had some link with urban art and graffiti, perhaps because of the associations with music, particularly hip-hop, and skateboarding, both of which have their own fashion style. Whether editions of urban art clothing offer a good investment is open to debate, one would assume that with wear and tear the items would lose value unless kept in mint condition, but keep an eye out for very limited runs on designs by artists. None the less, clothing editions offer another cheap option to own designs by your favourite urban and street artists, Shepard Fairey again leading the way with his OBEY Clothing line. OBEY Clothing was started way back in 2001 as an extension of the work created by Fairey, working with a number of designers and artists, such as can be seen with the OBEY and Keith Haring Foundation collaboration. Check out the list of 10 Fashion Collaborations for further examples, including sneakers from BÄST and the limited edition scarf by Damien Hirst with Alexander McQueen. Other examples include Ecko Unltd by Marc Ecko, Digital Threads and From Walls to Tees with Authority Clothing.

Images courtesy of OBEY Clothing.

Wear Your (he)ART on Your Sleeve!

Toys and Skateboards in Urban Art

Now to have some fun with your urban art editions, by venturing into the world of toys and skateboards to see what is available. The area of toys in general has, for a long time, been an area for good investment, kept in good condition with the packaging and you can have an item that will increase in value. Toys have become popular within the realms of urban and street art in recent years with the names you need to be looking out for being Designer Toys and Urban Vinyl. Take a look through the Hottest Designer and Art Toys article for some good examples, including toys by KAWS with Medicom Toys, Ron English, Shepard Fairey & OBEY and also take a read of This is Not a Toy which has further examples. Designer toys are usually produced by artists and designers in collectable editions, while Urban Vinyl was made popular by Michael Lau and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, usually featuring action figures created in vinyl and designed by illustrators, musicians and graffiti artists. Designer toys and Urban Vinyl are definitely areas worth exploring if you are looking at investing in urban art related editions.

Toys For Big Kids

Urban art and skateboarding cultures have long been intertwined, with many an artist designing skate deck graphics. Plenty of examples can be seen in our article 10 Best Street Art Skate Decks, with designs by Nick Walker, ROA and D*Face included. Ones to look out for are the limited edition decks which often come signed and numbered by the artist and sometimes even with hand finished artwork. If you are looking for something even more original then keep an eye out for artists such as My Dog Sighs, who occasionally offer unique hand painted skate decks, the price may be a bit higher but you are getting an original piece of urban art.

ROA skate decks via arrested motion / OBEY skate deck courtesy of OBEY

Enjoy Your Urban Art Editions with a Cigar

There are many other places to look for urban art editions, such as limited sculptures and you may even want to eat your dinner off of some collectable porcelain plates that Nick Walker and Pure Evil produced for Royal Doulton. You may even find some urban art on some limited edition products in your house, such as an energy drink or bottle of water, the list is probably endless. Of course, not all editions are worth investing in and one should enjoy what they collect. So while you sit and look at your urban art prints and posters, browsing the art book which lies open on the coffee table, admiring the skateboard and urban clothes,  why not enjoy a cigar from the Zino Platinum urban art themed Collector’s Series, designed by various urban artists and limited to just 750 boxes of each design!

Urban art cigar images via half wheel.

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Editions in Urban Art
Shin Tanaka - Japanese graffiti artist makes paper toys

Editions in Urban Art
Borondo - Memento Mori, Art Book, Yard Press. 2015. Courtesy of Yard Press.

Editions in Urban Art
Paranoia on Paper - Sickboy & Word to Mother Book. Courtesy of Fluorescent Smogg

Editions in Urban Art
Printing House - Steel Blue Print Release by Smash137 - Photo by Print Them All

Editions in Urban Art
Left: Pure Evil - In the Pillory plate for Royal Doulton / Right: Pure Evil - Beautiful Thing plate for Royal Doulton. Images via Royal Doulton

Editions in Urban Art
Left: Nick Walker - The Morning After New York plate for Royal Doulton / Right: Nick Walker - Mood Board plate for Royal Doulton. Photos via Royal Doulton

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