I think I fell in love with Banksy long before I watched the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, I just didn’t realize it. His rats gnawed into my subconscious, Opened my mind to New, turned the World on its Head and laughed at it, and fired up my Imagination; my definition of True Art. Banksy elevated guerrilla street art; Speaking for the People and ripping a Huge Hole of Possibility in the stagnant and weak-minded status quo (Banksy, I should say, along with a whole cadre of others: Shepard Fairey, Blek le Rat, and Invader, to start).
The motivations and objectives that drive street artists are as varied as the artists themselves. There is a strong current of activism and subversion in urban art. Street art can be a powerful platform for reaching the public, and frequent themes include adbusting, subvertising and other culture jamming, the abolishment of private property and reclaiming the streets. Some street artists use “smart vandalism” as a way to raise awareness of social and political issues. Other street artists simply see urban space as an untapped format for personal artwork, while others may appreciate the challenges and risks that are associated with installing illicit artwork in public places. However the universal theme in most, if not all street art, is that adapting visual artwork into a format which utilizes public space, allows artists who may otherwise feel disenfranchised, to reach a much broader audience than traditional artwork and galleries normally allow.–Wikipedia
The latest? Brandalism (I told you these people are genius!!). From Brandalism’s Blog:
Following on from the guerilla art traditions of the 20th Century and taking inspiration from the Dadaists, Situationists and Street Art movements, the Brandalism project will see the largest reclamation of outdoor advertising space in UK history as artists challenge the authority and legitimacy of the advertising industry. We are tired of being shouted at by adverts on every street corner so we decided to get together with some friends from around the world and start to take them back, one billboard at a time.
and this is why it’s important (also from Brandalism’s Blog):
Edward Bernays is the man usually acknowledged as the father of modern advertising. His uncle was Sigmund Freud. During the early 20th century, Bernays transplanted Freud’s ideas about the subliminal drives which motivated human behaviour and applied them to the task of selling people things: selling people films, cigarettes, and even selling people the case for going off to die in battle overseas.
As well as a peddler of goods, Bernays served the American governments propaganda efforts during the First World War. Deeply suspicious of mass democracy, he felt the public mind had to be guided for its own good.
Mass consumption was the tonic, providing not only a safe outlet for the dangerous emotional energies of the populace, but a vital boost to industry. Economic growth is the fundamental aim to which our societies have been engineered, and for the economy to produce more, we need to consume more.
Paul Mazur, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers during the great economic slump of the 1930s, is cited as declaring “We must shift America from a needs to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”
Yah. And boy did we bite. Street Art is one way of biting back; and one I personally love. By far my favorite type of art, street art blasts through paradigms and reveals us to ourselves in our own neighborhoods. LiveLove
Note: if you haven’t already, check out Stefan Thompson’s art here–Green, and morphed from street art with tons of Heart.