Street Art And What It Means To Me

Art Blog | 10 Jan, 2013

A look at why we as humans are drawn to the images that we so often see that have been created on street walls, buildings and undergrounds.  What are the artists trying to tell us?

Gone are the days, when young people used to spray paint pictures or writing on walls and run like hell, when they thought they may be caught for vandalism.  These days, men and women of all ages are now creating images that have powerful imagery, but also have a strong message behind them.

I for one am interested in this type of art.  It was only last year that I experienced my first taste of what I can only explain is story telling but without words.  Many artists over the years have painted or drawn pictures for us to look at and for us to see a full image that requires no further explanation, as it is clear to see what the picture is and what the message is.

Why would people use images instead of words?  We all watch the telly or look at the internet.  The things that grab our attention is the visual aspect and what people are doing, not always what they are saying.  The Egyptians were good at this.  The early art work was painted on walls,so this form of communication has been around for centuries.

Connecting Us And Our Emotions

Here is an example of work from Artist Alice Pasquini.

She demonstrates the small moments between people and their connections to one another. She shows us the emotional side of creating a picture that acts to stimulate our brains into creating a story which best fits what our eyes can see. Many of her pictures are about feminity, especially strong and independent women.

She was asked a serious of questions to which she replies to all.  The questions and answers are detailed below.

Most of your artworks are about people and their relationships, and about human feelings. Why did you chose this topic? Where does it come from?

AP: I’m interested in “moving pictures”, in moments of life that in some way are universal, in which the concept doesn’t change with time: it was the same fifty years ago, it will be the same in fifty years.

You said Street Art is a way to completely and freely express yourself, without the constraints you have when painting for commissions. Do you think you can achieve the same freedom and self-expression painting (for yourself) on canvas or with illustrations?

AP: Yes I’ve that freedom, but I’ve also an “issue” with white backgrounds, I prefer something that has already “a life” in some way.

Also, when I paint in studio I’m just with myself, it’s an intimate and creative moment in which the goal is the artwork, in the streets instead there are many other factors, like the people, the adrenaline, the location, that make the act of painting “alive”.

So when I paint in the streets the final result, the artwork, becomes secondary: for me it’s much more important the act of painting itself and what I feel while I’m painting. For me doing art is the act of painting, the performance, rather than the artwork.

Also, if I create something on canvas, the people coming to the exhibition is expecting to see some art, they come for that. In the streets instead the viewers are not expecting to see art, so the impact they have with the artwork is unexpected and I think it’s much nicer.

The artwork I saw definitely had an impact on me and to the extent, where I contacted my local paper and sent in a piece about what I had seen. I wrote it exactly as I saw it.  I wrote it in story form, the emotion I felt when I saw it, and also wrote about, is hard to express.  I will say that I agree with Alice, because the street art was in a real place, with people about taking dogs for walks and having a stroll, it felt very real and not like a picture in a gallery, with no real imagery around it and some what staged.

Here another artist:

Swoon is a street artist and specializes in life-size prints and paper cutouts of figures. Swoon, real name Caledonia Dance Curry.

The majority of Swoon’s street art are portraits. She believes that we store things in our body and that a portrait can become an x-ray of those experiences. She wants her portraits to capture something essential in the subject. She tries to document something she loves about the subject and has seen in him or her. It is a way to connect with the subject. By putting the portraits on the streets she is allowing for others to witness this connection and make their own.

One such connection has stuck with her throughout the years, mentioning it in multiple interviews. She met a woman who asked her about a small piece of art that she had put up in a neighborhood. The woman proceeded to tell her that a mentally disabled man who lived in the neighborhood had started to call it “The Secret” and he would take people to it and show them. The little piece had become a special thing in the community. This moment has had an impact on Swoon, telling her that one tiny thing can make an opportunity for connection and can inspire the feeling that maybe there is another world existing around us and that we only need a perception shift in order to see it. She has since tried to evoke this in all of her other artwork.

The Writing On The Wall

There is another area to Street art that we haven’t covered and that is the writing.  Slogans are often written.  Short words that catch your attention and make you think. Funny how sometimes we have something on our minds and then we see something that makes us smile.  The words jump out at us and fit with what we are thinking.  Here is an example:

The words say believe in Love.  It may relate to relationships in your life, but can mean much more.  Sometimes to get over heartache or let downs in our lifes we need to love more.  This may sound quite bizaare, when the last thing you can give is love when you feel down.  If you think long and hard, when we keep our selfs in a bitter state, we dont feel good and the people we meet are also not really feeling good either.  By slowly changing our thoughts to those of love and forgiveness to people, we feel better, we meet more people who are happy and happy to be around us and life is so much better.  So the next time you feel down and see a sign like the one above, just think about what I said and maybe you too, can believe in love and bring some happiness back in your life.

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