The origins of enlightened vandalism
Of course, it is worth making an important reservation: street art and its authors are very diverse in their origins. This is not an art direction that logically grows out of its predecessors, but rather some polymorphic resulting one that has more than one factor of influence in each particular case. Therefore, artists of the twentieth century (for example, Richard Hambleton, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, etc.) were certainly one of the sources for the emergence of street art, but not the only one, and perhaps not the main one. Other sources were:
> spray-graffiti, Brazilian pichaçao, murals (which were made by big artists like Rivera, Siqueiros, etc.).);
> poster and advertising of the twentieth century (do not forget that the facades, posters and design were done by Klimt and Mucha, Malevich and Lisitsky, miriskusniki and Bauhaus), the development of identity (any group now has a logo);
> conventional signs of subcultures (for example, the iconic language of American hobos, criminal abbreviations, labels and images, punk graffiti);
> inscriptions during wars and revolutions (for example, many slogans in Paris in 1968);
> as well as a number of social processes-the growth of alienation (including in the sphere of images and words), orientation to individualism and self-expression, the strengthening of the visual element in culture (with the preservation of verbality in its understanding) , and others.
It is worth noting that alienation with the greatest scope of the twentieth century affected not only ordinary workers, but also white-collar workers (journalists, designers, creators, development engineers, etc.), which led to the search for alternatives. The alienation that occurs against the background of mass standardized things, signs and phenomena exacerbates the demand for something created “with your own hands”, outside of established conventions.
The operation was accompanied by aggressive expansion of business into the sphere of images and even ideologies (for example, corporate ethics, brand policy, etc.). At the same time, the impact of advertising and media has an unexpected effect: there are a significant number of people who are intuitively competent in evaluating the work of images and messages. This phenomenon is called the “marketer within”.
Perceiving advertising as part of the environment, a person learns to understand and change it-hence, for example, the heyday of photojournalism and mockery of advertising on the Internet, or irritation with brands. This is not an impotent dislike of imposed images, it is an understanding of the mechanisms that allows you to make the image work against the owners.
One of the artist’s works under the nickname Askew
Also important was the appearance of an aerosol can with paint (or rather-a modern type of spray valve) in 1949. Although it is a mistake to equate street art only with spray art (we will talk about this separately). But I would like to emphasize once again: I think that in each particular case, very different things could have prompted street art-someone with an album of modern art, and someone with a local graffiti hooligan who started adding dudes with guns or Busty blondes to the bombing letters.
Two traditions of street art
Here we can also mention this observation: some (including me) distinguish several traditions of street art. First of all, Anglo-American and French (continental), which are just different in that the first significantly more people from the social bottom, and the second-quite a lot of people with education, or even with two or more. It is not surprising that some refer to popular culture and a local version of a subculture, while others also refer to classical art.
In Anglo-American street art, the cultural background of graffiti is more noticeable: they still do not approve of cooperation with commercial firms and often find out “who sold to whom”. There is also a noticeable attraction to elements of the primitive, tribal, and territorial in man, though with elements of reflection. For them, graffiti wars are also relevant (for example, between Banksy and king Robbo).
French street art is noticeably more social, but also refined. This is evident not only in humanitarian education, but also in the ideas of serving society, trying to fit into the urban landscape without distorting or destroying the environment (which is largely due to the fact that they create in cities with beautiful architecture, which can not be said about working-class areas). Many works of continental street art are Hyper-reflective, sometimes even to the detriment of imagery-you have to Supplement it with explanations in interviews and texts of exhibitions.
Other traditions can be distinguished: for example, Latin American street art, quite young Arabic street art, and others (however, they always show the influence of one of the above-listed traditions).