I have never looked much at street art, but some of what I see some I like. I enjoy it because it’s not the art of the establishment, the galleries, ateliers, museums and critics.
There is a down to earth grittiness, like grunge fashion. It is rough loose, a realism, even when some have become part of the official art world, like Banksy.
It’s not just painting but film and TV, Samurai Champloo is a Japanese Anime that mixes Feudal Japan with Hip-Hop and graffiti memes, I also think of Cowboy Bebop, and New Expressionism, like Basquiat.
Yes, Basquiat became part of the establishment, a criticism of the Neo-Expressionist movement. But the sentiment of the street is there.
Even Greek art, like their vases, is now considered valuable. But it was not created by the most wealthy and famous artisans of the day but in squalor. Most of the vase makes we have no known names for just pseudonyms, like the Berlin Painter or the Princeton Painter.
It reminds me of some stories I’ve heard in Zen, Hotei the laughing Buddha, the frugality of a street bum. Like the Greek Philosopher Diogenes thumbing his nose at the academy.
It’s people not sequestered away from reality nor art so fanciful and fantastical it makes believe it more the whims of a child.
I like art and philosophy with high ideals and loft aspirations but with realism, a lack of pretentiousness—a spirituality of this existence, like Zen, Stoicism, Existentialism and the Japanese idea of Wabi-sabi.
The something down to earth about this sort of art. It’s looking at reality with the heart of a poet, of high ideals and hopes, but the uncomfortable truth of realism, and suffering. A Romanticism and Realism in balance.
It make it seem less absurd, more believable, relatable.
The street is a contentious subject, asking many questions about ‘what is art?’, Shdl we respect it? , remove it. Yet it’s the art of those who don’t like the high art of the establishment with its rules and prejudices.
I find that what makes it worth studying.
Credit Banksy Photo: Banksy Girl and Heart Balloon | One of my favourite Banksy s… | Flickr