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The Power of Street Art
by RSH, a street artist and author

When you think of social media, you are likely to think of computers, mobile devices and sites like Facebook or Twitter. But there is one form that pre-dates it all - street art has been with us for centuries. Street art - graffiti art - came before television, radio and the printing press and remains a powerful tool of communication.

The medium was used to great effect during the Arab revolutions, acting as an indicator of what people in the street were saying. Street art is the political warning sign that tends to appear and attract attention long before the activists actually hit the streets. And while demonstrators may have gone back to their lives after the fall of a government, street artists remain, making the most out of their newfound freedom of expression and hoping that it lasts.

"Street art, graffiti particularly, functions as a reflection of the environment of the people who are creating it. So it's almost like a communication platform for the disenfranchised. You have a street art group of people who have no other way of communicating, you have a message that's being portrayed to everyone .... It directly affects the environment that it's being placed in, so much in the way like Twitter today."
RSH, a street artist and author

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'Beyond Graffiti' by Carolina Miranda

Say the words "street art" and chances are people will conjure up images that borrow heavily from graphic pictures inspired by comic-book art or Constructivism...

That trend is changing. Young street artists are turning away from the figuration common in so much street art—not to mention the alphanumeric elements of spray-can graffiti art—and producing works that are more conceptual, abstract, and even three-dimensional.

For many of these street artists, moving away from words and figurative images is key. "This isn't about imposing an idea," says Madrid-based Nuria Mora, 36, whose angular street art abstractions are occasionally laced with floral patterns inspired by textiles. "These are quiet works. I'm trying to create a bit of silence in the city."

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The shift to a different kind of work also represents an attempt to create something that will stand out amidst the plethora of illicit marks that seem to cover every available city surface. For years, Eltono tagged the train tunnels around Paris, but when he arrived in Madrid in the '90s, he found a city saturated in graffiti. "To add my name to that," he says, "just didn't make sense." It was then that he developed the colorful geometric box patterns for which he is now known.

Street Artist Javier Abarca, a curator and critic who teaches at the Complutense University in Madrid and writes about graffiti on his blog, Urbanario, says that it's time to rethink the street art taxonomy. While "graffiti" remains the chosen term to describe spray-can tagging, "street art"—with its everything-on-the-street implications—has become unwieldy. Abarca says he uses the term "post-graffiti" to describe any type of iconic mark-making on the street.

For more site-specific works, such as the one-offs created by street artist Downey or Reese, Abarca uses the term "intervention"—which refers to a piece within the context of a very precise environment.

Naturally, it's not always clear who belongs in which column. Almost all of the artists mentioned above cross over from one category to another, from the street to the gallery, from graffiti to postgraffiti to intervention, eluding categorization. "The interest for me is in this gray area where words aren't speaking quite perfectly," says MOMO. "If we're having trouble with the words, it means that something new is forming."

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After many decades, art has that thirst again for something innovative, something that mainstream art galleries seem to miss, something that will stir the soul and stimulate interest in a new form of expression. It is street art. It should probably be mentioned that actually this form of artistic expression has been around for many years. Street art was born in the early 1970's. The father is the graffiti art movement which was prevalent in New York City during the 1970's.

Aerosol spray paint in cans became readily available and New York subway trains were subjected to an onslaught of urban graffiti/street art in the 70's. The words and tags (street art writers and names) were soon modified with elaborate urban-inspired images. Most graffiti/street artist were neither professional artists nor art students but streetwise African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans from the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

Some of the well known graffiti/street artist's from the 1970's are Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and Lee Quiñones. Keith Haring was a well-known graffiti artist who brought Pop Art and graffiti to the commercial mainstream. Jean Michel Basquiat who began as an obscure graffiti/street artist in New York City evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist artist in the 1980s. Lee Quiñones legendary street art displayed a contemporary style of painting which left huge shadows across the subway system.

In 2012 Atlanta, Georgia is seeing a new surge of street art Graffiti. This form of art is taking over the abandoned and decaying buildings to create a street art masterpiece which any and everyone can enjoy. Corey Barksdale a local Atlanta visual artist who has recently dove into the street art explosion says street art captures the soul of our urban environment and puts it out there for all to see, good and bad elements of our community are put on display for everyone to judge. One of the aspects of street art that intrigues me is that street art can be used as a revolutionary and political tool. You don't have to ask no ones permission or wait for a big advertising agency or PR firm to distribute your message to the public for you. Street art bypasses the middlemen and delivers my message or concept to a mass audience regardless of the message.

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If You Take Street Art Off the Street, Is It Still Art?
written by MATTHEW DOLAN

Secured inside a wooden crate and locked in a warehouse is a street art painting that could cement this city's reputation as a showcase for avant-garde art. Or as a wasteland waiting to be picked apart. It's a stenciled image on a 7-foot-by-7-foot slab of cinder-block wall, showing a small boy holding a can and paintbrush. Next to the boy are the words: "I remember when all this was trees."

The street art painting came from the grounds of the old Packard auto plant, one of the city's infamous industrial ruins. And it is believed to be the work of the mysterious street artist Banksy, whose graffiti-like renderings adorn the lanes of London and the walls of the West Bank. His ironic urban images, or "tags," have produced world-wide fame and led him to create an Oscar-nominated documentary. More on Banksy [banksy2] Saima via Flickr This Banksy work, close to the Archway underground stop in North London, depicts a hitchhiker with the face of serial killer Chales Manson. Last year, it was targeted by a Banksy competitor.

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A Game of Tag Breaks Out Between London's Graffiti Elite 03/03/2010 How the work ended up in the warehouse—was it a rescue or a heist?—is now the subject of a spirited discussion in Detroit art circles. It's also at the center of a courtroom battle between a scrappy Detroit art gallery and the once-reclusive owner of the Packard site.

Last May, a quartet of artists from the 555 Nonprofit Art Gallery and Studios, tipped off by local photographer Bill Riddle, descended on a section of the Packard site strewn with rubble. After sawing the painting free, they hauled the 1,500-pound wall back to their gallery to save it, they say, from destruction. They say they hid the painting in response to threats from other street artists to deface it.

"Look at what the big picture is here," says Mr. Riddle, a 41-year-old former computer technician. "It's not a silly tag. It's a world-renowned artist who put something up in a place that is going to be destroyed." Others here see it differently. "It seems the 555 Art Gallery is incapable of comprehending Banksy and committed the greatest art sin," one critic wrote on a local radio station's website. "In its attempt to 'preserve' a Banksy they have ultimately destroyed it." Some locals sniff that what Banksy left behind has only served to promote himself. [BANKSY] Graffito detail His street art gallery work sells for tens of thousands of dollars, though he refuses to authenticate his street art, making it difficult to value.

Detroit's gritty street art landscape has long been a rich canvas for street artists. But many residents are sensitive about what some art critics have dubbed "ruin porn"—works by out-of-towners that make a spectacle of the city's decaying buildings. "Obviously, we are supportive of the artist community that has decided to make Detroit home," said Dan Lijana, spokesman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. "But those who are seeking to tell the same old stories using street art, that's something that we don't support."

Banksy, the pseudonym of a British-born street artist who hides his identity, is thought to have created several pieces across Detroit's landscape while on tour with his movie, "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Images of two of the Detroit works—including the "Trees" painting—appear on his website, banksy.co.uk. At least two other Detroit paintings have been attributed to Banksy, but those can't be as firmly tied to the artist, whose popularity has spawned many imitators around the world. Through a spokeswoman, Banksy declined to comment. "Most normal art is built to last, like, hundreds of years. It's cast in bronze. Or it's oil on canvas," Banksy says in his movie. "But street art has a short life span."

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The "Trees" painting appeared on a jagged section of crumbling, 8-inch-thick wall adjacent to the decrepit Packard car plant, a 3.5-million-square-foot complex. Since it closed in 1956, it has served mostly as a scavenger's playground, and occasionally as a backdrop for TV shows and films, including the coming "Transformers 3." In May, Mr. Riddle saw a photo of the "Trees" painting on a friend's website and recognized the setting. He said he received approval from an on-site foreman and reached out to 555 Art Gallery.

Gallery director Carl Goines convinced his father and fellow artists Jacob Martinez and Eric Froh to gather supplies to extricate the painting: an oxyacetylene torch, a Bobcat mini-tractor, a pickup truck and a gas-powered masonry saw with a new $400 blade. It took them two days in mid-May to carve out the entire section of wall. As news of the removal spread, the building's owner, Bioresource Inc., sued the art gallery in July in Wayne County Circuit Court. It argued that the painting could be worth more than $100,000 and demanded it back.

In court papers, the artist group says it believed they had permission to remove the painting as long as they didn't attempt to purloin any scrap metal. A lawyer for the plant owner said that the foreman on site was not the owner's representative or agent. When Mayor Bing's office learned of the lawsuit, city officials began looking into back taxes owed on the property since 2006 and seized demolition equipment from the site, a city spokesman said. A lawyer for Bioresource declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

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Randy Wilcox, who runs a popular Detroit photo blog called dETROITfUNK, chronicled the escapades at the Packard plant and defended 555's owners as preservationists not profiteers. But there were critics, including Mr. Wilcox's own wife, Melinda, a local sculptor. Banksy "puts things in a place for a reason," said Ms. Wilcox, who teaches art at a suburban high school. "It's about the life of the piece. Its life span was cut short."

The gallery owners are undeterred, saying their plan to put the piece on display for free in another old building that has outlived its intended use, an old police precinct house, will keep it in context. The next hearing in the case is set for March 18. Sculptor Larry Halbert, a Banksy fan who chairs the 555 Art Gallery, discounts the slogan on the work—"I remember when all this was trees"—as the voice of an outsider. Mr. Halbert said a bit ruefully of the Packard plant, "I remember when there were jobs."

Street Artist Atlanta Fine Street Art Gallery, Art Street Artist, Corey Barksdale Black Artist, Georgia Street Fine Artist Street Art - New Culture of the Cities By Klaus Rosmanitz Street Art is a very popular form of art that is spreading quickly all over the world. You can find it on buildings, sidewalks, street signs and trash cans from Tokyo to Paris, from Moscow to Cape Town. Street art has become a global culture and even art museums and galleries are collecting the work of street artists. Street art started out very secretly because it is illegal to paint public and private property without permission. People often have different opinions about street art. Some think it is a crime and others think it is a very beautiful new form of culture. Art experts claim that the movement began in New York in the 1960s.

Young adults sprayed words and other images on walls and trains. This colorful, energetic style of writing became known as graffiti. Graffiti art showed that young people wanted to rebel against society. They didn't want to accept rules and travelled around cities to create paintings that every one could see. In many cases they had trouble with the police and the local government. One well-known New York Street artist is Swoon. She cuts out paper images of people and puts them on walls and or sets them up on sidewalks. Swoon didn't start her career as a street artist. She studied art but, as time went on, got bored with the work she saw in museums and galleries.

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The people in New York enjoy Swoon's strong and imaginative style. Some museums have already bought some of her work. Many street corners in Paris show the work of Space Invader. The French artist uses small pieces of glass to make images of space creatures. He has been doing this for some years and the police have arrested him a few times. On his website you can see many other places where he has created this form of art. Street artists do their work for a reason. Some of them do not like artists who make so much money in galleries and museums. They choose street art because it is closer to the people. Some artists try to express their political opinion in their work.

They often want to protest against big firms and corporations. Others like to do things that are forbidden and hope they don't get caught. Advertising companies also use street art in their ads because it gives you the impression of youth and energy. The New York department store Saks Fifth Avenue recently used a street artist's design for their shop windows and shopping bags. In today's world the Internet has a big influence on street art. Artists can show their pictures to an audience all over the world. Many city residents, however, say that seeing a picture on the Internet is never as good as seeing it live. The street art movement lives with the energy and life of a big city. There, it will continue to change and grow. More articles in easy, understandable English with vocabulary list at http://www.english-online.at

Street Artist Atlanta Fine Street Art Gallery, Art Street Artist, Corey Barksdale Black Artist, Georgia Street Fine ArtistIs Graffiti Art Or Vandalism? By Mike D Johnson I The question of whether graffiti is art or vandalism is one I see often, and usually from students working on school reports... and have fairly strong opinions about. This is really a two part question: Part 1. Is Graffiti Art? and Part 2. Is Graffiti Vandalism?

Part 1 - Is Graffiti Art?
I think it's first important to understand that "art" itself is tough to define. But if you move past formal definitions, art is typically an expression of oneself or a message that an artist is trying to give to the viewer... and it may or may not appeal to other people. Others think art is perhaps an expression of the artist using colors, textures, sounds, etc. to convey the message. Let's look at a few of pieces of well known art.

1. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci. It is painted on a piece of wood and is framed. Why is this art? Shading, the depth, the landscape, the enigmatic smile, etc. Would this be art if it were painted on a brick wall on a side street in Italy? Of course. What makes it art is the picture, not the medium.

2. Guernica by Pablo Picasso. This may be Picasso's most well known piece of art. Painted mural size on a piece of canvas. Of course, this is art. Would it be art if Picasso painted directly on a wall on the side of a street?

Yes. What if he did it without permission? Still art... but illegally painted. You like it?... well it doesn't matter if you do or not, it's still art.

3. Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michangelo. It's art and it's on a ceiling. Graffiti art is a style of art. It "fits" the bill to be defined as such and often expresses a very distinct message from the artist (as an example, check out the political messages of Banksy ). Artwork that is painted in this style is absolutely considered art. It can be painted on wood, on canvas, on ceilings, on brick walls, on sidewalks, etc. It is still art regardless of the medium.

Part 2 - Is Graffiti Vandalism? If the street art (graffiti) is painted legally, meaning on property owned by the artist or with permission from the owner, then it is legal street art. If the street art is painted illegally, meaning on property not owned by the artist, and without permission, then it is still art... but the artist has committed the crime of vandalism.

So, if DaVinci, Picasso, and Michaelangelo were hanging out on 115th Street one Tuesday night and throw up the Mona Lisa, the Guernica, and the Sistine Chapel art work on the side of a laundromat... It is art. But it's also vandalism. It can be both... it is not an "either / or" question. Hope this helps you guys if you're doing a report on "Graffiti Art or Vandalism" or "Is It Street Art or Vandalism". This article was written by Mike Johnson of BuyGraffiti.net blog. For unique and interesting pieces of original Graffiti Art for sale that can provide an exciting urban image to your home or business, please visit BuyGraffiti.net and support Graffiti Art