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Street Art Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

  • Street Art Pays Tribute to Robin Williams
August 15, 2014

Several years ago, I was on some bus, on some highway, going to some students’ seminar with street art workshops… Sometime around midnight, this guy puts on the Live On Broadway stand up-show by Robin Williams on his lap-top. With a number of beers already in our system and sharing one set of headphones, just barely hearing the comedian, and with explosions of surely unnerving laughter, we made a lot of people who were trying to sleep quite angry that night. As it turned out, this was the night I was introduced to the world of stand-up comedy. This is going to be a very short story of extraordinary subcultures and a personal Thank you to a great comedian, the street art scene and one friend…

Street Art Pays Tribute to Robin Williams
CENS, Robin Williams street art tribute, Ottawa

The Individual Influence Within a Subculture

Although stand-up subculture has roots reaching many decades in the past, similarly to the graffiti movement, it is the famous period of 1970s and 1980s which marked the rise of the two subcultures, more intertwined than one would expect. Just like the street art scene, stand-up inhabited the culture of underground spaces and it seemed to be understandable to a limited part of the public. But, why would one compare the these two subcultures? What could be the notions of resemblance other than the alternative nature of articulating the resistance to popular culture? Let us consider this: there is a performer in the centre of a creative expression, on a mission to impose his or her language upon the public and, what is more, to create a situation of understanding the language and teach the spectator to “use” it. It is around these extraordinary creative individuals where the body of subculture is created. Besides, the inspirational work of the stand-up and urban art culture is constantly under the pressure of being taken over by the popular culture. Yet, both stand their ground, nurturing the symbolic values of aspects which had created them. All of this is due to individuals, every so often personally introvert and publicly extrovert, who make it possible for the rest of us to feel a part of subcultures which seem to have already taken over our identities.

Street Art Pays Tribute to Robin Williams
Unknown street artist, Robin Williams street art tribute, Belgrade, Serbia (photo ©WideWalls.ch)

A Personal Thank You

One can appreciate a true artistic expression only through the subjective connotations of diverse moments which define one’s existence and cultural discourses which determine one’s identity. So, I am going to end this story the only way possible – with sheer subjectivity. When one subculture lost a great source of its energy, another ignited the fusion of creative expression and, the only way it knows how, through the activity of extraordinary individuals, reminded the rest of us of that which is truly important – when a man is no more, the symbolic power of the idea lives on. It resides now on the walls of cities around the world, transpired by the hands of those who understand it.  Oh, and that guy from the bus – turned out he had become my best friend.

Street Art Pays Tribute to Robin Williams
Pan Cooke, Robin Williams street art tribute, Dublin

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