The idea that Art is intricate and needs specific knowledge to be decoded, made it distant to many people. I think that’s why Streetart became so massive: simple people started doing simple things, anyone could relate to. Then it grew, big projects involved bigger teams and regulations, and in this new “academic” Streetart community, new judgement appeared.
There’s so many people studying the term Streetart right now. Let’s keep in mind that Art is not entirely defined itself. If history got to the point where anything presented inside a museum could be considered Art, the implications of replacing museums with streets, are huge. It’s also confusing because it englobes very different actions, and -as distant to art as it is- law seems to play a curious role in it. From my point of view, the impact of a Streetart piece can’t possibly be defined by a rule, or judged by a single critic. For me a an artist, it’s important to understand why and what am I doing, and interact with the space and people to find out if it actually works.
I don’t think big murals betray anonymous spontaneous pieces, they have a complete different process and reaches different audiences. Big buildings are seen by people who don’t usually pay attention at all, while smaller pieces might be hidden and only spotted by the trained eye. Legal artwork can get financial support and be happily promoted in the media, while illegal pieces remain in the dark. But on the other hand, you don’t really need to pay for big infrastructure, have media visibility, or any kind of support to go out on the street and do your thing. A single person can practise both, is not like we sign an agreement or get a degree to become street artists.
But on the way from one to another side, there’s a big fuss about “keeping it real”. I think a small intervention can be wild and carefree. Yet a big building which will disrupt everyone’s daily life, comes with a different responsibility. Imagine yourself standing in a busy street, and you feel like whispering a sudden thought: no big deal. Now what if I give you a megaphone and blasting speakers, would you easily improvise what you’re about to say?
I come from graphic design, where image is communication, so it has to be clear and readable. Back to that difference between traditional and street art, the audience is now the whole street, that means, everyone is included. So how can a simple person talk to millions of strangers, even in foreign countries where you don’t know the culture? My answer is simple, just “simple”. It may not sound like much, but understanding your fundamental basics, is not so simple. For me, it’s a journey still in progress: debug noise in my head, be as honest as possible about how my feelings work, pay attention to strangers and how their feelings work, share actions and observe the feedback. Being an artist in the street is the ideal playground to investigate this.