I recently spotted the street art you see above in the quaint city-town I call home. This struck me as "awesome!" and I will tell you why...
- I live in a small town community where street art is typically confined to “Fuck You Asshole” painted on a sign or band stickers slapped on transformer box.
- The “thriving arts community” of my town consists mostly of people, over the age of 60, painting landscapes and cute pets.
- This will surely spark outrage and condemnation about angst-ridden youth and how we need more rules and police to clean things up.
The piece took time to create, was bold in it's visibility and was the first of a kind in this town. It excited me. It made me reflect on how far street art has come (think Banksy, Invader, Plastic Jesus) and how far traditional art has yet to go.
As a new artist, I am beginning to build relationships and make connections with art communities and “established” artists. I find that the art world can be both very welcoming and also incredibly alienating. I have come across many artists who look down their noses at those of us who did not go to the top art schools, who engage in non-traditional forms of art and who are looking to make a statement with the goal of making a change to some aspect of our society. These revelations are both troubling and invigorating. Troubling, because the years of working hard in 9-5 jobs to pay bills and survive so that I could realize my dream of being artist are marginalized. Invigorating, because the narrow-minded attitude that these “artists” have is the very reason I have chosen to define myself as a conceptual artist.
So back to my point. Street art matters because, in my opinion, it is the purest form of art expression. Despite the threat of criminal charges and no financial gain, this person has created art that others will see. That is the artist I want to be. And that is why street art matters to me.