Street Art is one of the most ephemeral styles of art possible – here today and frequently gone tomorrow, as in most of the places street art is created, the wonderful works painted are considered illegal or graffiti and treated in the same manner: by removal. It was not until Banksie became a household name, creating a cult following worldwide, that ‘street art’ began to assume another dimension altogether, that of true social commentary and also social protest.
That it also has decorative purposes is quite a new revelation, but one that is today becoming far more acceptable to society in general.
Alison Yong has spent many years following, investigating and respecting street art in all its incarnations. With this beautifully presented encapsulation of some of the works created, the history of the evolution of this art form worldwide, she has opened the door to a better understanding of the work and people who create such urban masterpieces.
One thing comes through very clearly as you begin to understand more about the philosophy of the artist and the art, is how this craft is perceived is definitely in the eye of the beholder. As far as the viewer is concerned, it is how the work is viewed that makes the difference. With graffiti, is tagging considered art or is it considered as a public eyesore to be removed. Advertising that has been altered by the use of ‘street art’ also comes under scrutiny as making a protest or defiling someone else’s property. But art for art’s sake, whether it is on canvas or a wall in a back street, where exactly does that fit into the spectrum?
But then, there is what cannot be considered as anything other than magnificent artwork, with pieces such as that created by Swoon on a wall in Hackney, of two figures entwined, one emerging from the skeletal form of an older woman: Intricate, emotional, telling a story of life, love and aging and one of the few pieces remaining by this talent artist, that had not been defamed, removed or shredded.
Where too from here with street art, is the real question, as it is largely created to be impermanent, but should it be more recognised than it is, be considered as a treasure, rather than a public eyesore, with conservation methods used to retain for as long as possible, the works of art created by people with nickname,s who work in the dead of night, quickly and with purpose.
Although there is a growing movement that some aspects of this art form are now considered as collectable, it once again begs the question, is that real street art, when it can be commissioned by groups and companies to create murals to hide unsightliness, or as a marketing tool. Has street art now become so mainstream that maybe it has lost its purpose – that of being different and confronting to the status quo?
By the time you have enjoyed the journey through Street Art World, you will have formed an opinion, which is the real intent of this art form, you will have learned appreciation of the intricacies of the earlier works and the changes which have taken place since it became socially more acceptable.
Beautifully illustrated and presented, anyone with an interest in art or any art form, will find this work enthralling and entertaining, as you have been offered a rare insight into a world that is generally hidden from public view.
|Distributor||New South Books|