The process of creating artwork can be a mission of solitary nature. However, there is a moment, no matter how much time has passed, when the piece needs to become alive in the eyes of the public. It is a moment when a new entity begins to survive the hell that is the other. This is what street art is, and has to be, in its essence! As soon as it is created, the artwork becomes a part of the otherness, aggressively and intrusively, changing its surroundings. A street artist must know this. A street artist must create with this in mind.
If the conditio sine qua non for becoming (or better yet, living the life of?) a street artist is hidden in the potential of reacting to the chaotic transformation of the social reality, what are the means for doing so? Is there a lesson to be learned from the more experienced artists who managed to find and/or create their own style? Let us reflect upon some of the most famous street artists today, presenting their work through a discussion on methods and techniques.
Firstly, there is much to be said about the Portuguese street artist Vhils. By refusing to show his face, he directs the focus of attention to the artwork. His method of creating through destruction is a special way of constructing a place in the world for making artwork. This kind of “discovering” places has given him a chance to create small and large scale artwork. Another artist, who is unable to separate art and the social meaning it conveys, is Anthony Lister. Through inspiration he draws from comic books, he extracts the heroes and villains and places them in a context greatly different from the one they have been created in. He uses his painting skills, as well as the power of installation, to emanate his artistic message. On the other hand, the mesmerizing murals of How and Nosm bring some of the darker issues of our society to the surface of attention. Their aerosol cans capture in detail the subtle differences of the mundane.
To resist is not merely an act of defying factual situation of oppression. To resist means to be prepared to live in this defiance. It becomes unbearable, at a point, for one not to react to the ever-changing world order, which many a times tries to constrain the freedom of an individual thinker. This sort of subversive activism through artwork creation is a characteristic of the already iconic figure of our time – Banksy. From his work on the West Bank barrier to the changing of the market prices for street art ,and removing his work from the streets, Banksy has never stopped engaging in the socio-political discourses of the world, as well as the small communities he acts in. His work represents a legacy of living through resistance, and resisting through art creation. So? Lesson learned?
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