When most people think of street art, their minds automatically go to graffiti. Graffiti has long been a taboo subject in urban setting because it is assumed to be associated with gangs, drugs, and street violence. But graffiti, among other types of street art, has become a way for people living in urban settings to voice themselves and create a positive space. Rooted in a deep need to rebel against oppressive politics, harmful norms, and a need for change, it is one of many methods that artists use to make a statement.
Below are the different types of street art and how they have been used in the past.
The most common form of street art is graffiti. Graffiti can be seen anywhere – from urban setting, to train tracks, and abandoned warehouses. While graffiti has had a controversial past, it is now respected as an art form in many big cities. Graffiti artists create murals for schools, businesses, and organizations to promote their message. There are also different form of graffiti shown below.
One of the most popular artists that comes to my head when thinking about stencil graffiti is Banksy. Stencil artists recreate their artwork using stencils made of cardboard or plastic and using spray paint to get them on a surface. Layering is common in stencil graffiti to add texture to the painting. It was originally started in 1960 by John Fekner to bring awareness to the displacement of Native Americans.
Sticker art comes in all forms in sizes. It has been used to promote art of all sorts (including musicians), to send political messages, and to distinguish different graffiti and tag artists. It’s cheap costs makes it easy to distribute to many areas.
Wheatpaste is a form of street art made from a paste made of wheat flour that makes it nearly impossible to instantly remove from a surface. Artists print or draw art or posters that can be glued with wheatpaste. It can last up to six months if given a top coat of paste. It’s used by activists and artists alike to send messages and promote their work.
3D Street Art
Usually made with chalk or paint, 3D street art creates illusions for anyone passing by it. Street artists have created stairwells, ponds, and many other 3D works that leave viewers wondering what is real and what isn’t. The first artist to create a 3D picture was an architect, Kurt Wenner. He made 3D drawings using chalk for the Santa Barbara Art Museum. Since then, 3D street art has become a popular practice in urban settings.
You can find many sculptures in the streets of big cities such as New York and Chicago. Sculptures are usually found in parks, outside of museums and schools, and near businesses. Guerrilla sculptures are sculptures placed in public overnight to gain public attention, usually done without permission. Recently, some of these have been commercialized so that they can remain in public with permission.
Video projections are large works of shapes, colors, and images that are projected onto buildings or outside surfaces. The first example of projection mapping, originally known as “Spatial Augmented Reality”, was in Disney’s 1969 Haunted Mansion ride. While it has since being used for artistic and political messages, nowadays it has been commercialized for grand openings and advertising. .
This type of street art uses 3D models in a public setting (and sometimes internal space) to intentionally interact with the public. Installation artists want to create pieces that catches the attention of those passing by and makes them realize how the space has changed. For example, in 2017 the artist JR wanted to bring awareness to immigration issues by creating an installation of a child looking over a fence. The fence was supposed to represent the wall that has created immense controversy in current politics.
Art Interventions is formed on or around street art that has already been made. It’s purpose is to interfere with current work in order to protest something about that piece or artist, or just to encourage change. It started during the avant-garde era by the Dada movement. This movement used this type of street art to speak up against originality and authority. For a list of the original pieces, visit the Dada Companion.
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