History of street art
The concept of thoughts’ expression on walls is not a brand-new idea to humanity. Originally, the world started to know the concept of wall carvings and inscriptions in the time of ancient Greeks. Egyptian monuments and temples as well as the Ancient Romans walls recorded the history of such great civilizations. However, the message of public art back then was different from today. It was more about words of love and thought. Today graffiti is more expressive of a socio-political aspect.
There can be a confusion between Graffiti and street art. While Graffiti focuses more on the words, street art is more about the visuals. They are both a result of public expression of beliefs.
Graffiti and Pop Cultures
According to the photographer Brassaï in 1930s, graffiti was known in the streets of Paris long before it went to New York. However, New York is what really got graffiti to the mainstream culture. The wide spreading of graffiti art goes back to the popularity of the hip-hop culture. In 1970s graffiti became part of the city’s landscape. Subway art was a great milestone in the evolution of street art. In 1984, the movie “Wild Style” showed the connection between street art and hip-hop culture. Later graffiti was also linked to the culture of punk rock. People stenciled the names and logos of their favourite bands on the street walls and subway.
Power of the street art-Revolutionary move
Before gaining today’s respect, street art was greatly frowned upon by the authorities. As a matter of fact, the act of publicly expressing oneself always had its chaotic nature. Sometimes, it can be object against public and political issues. But mostly it is about the revolution of unapologetically being yourself and expressing the voice of the silent masses.
Graffiti on the walls markedly recorded major historical incidents. In 1980s, the Berlin wall was a canvas for artists from all over the world to decorate it after German reunification. With the emergence of the use of stencil, people started to use it to express their political opinions. In Buenes Aires, for instance, the stencil art was a tool of protest between years of 1976-1983.
In 2000s, the graffiti world started to greatly change, all because of Banksy. This anonymous British street artist, who always wears a mask, created the turning point in the street art history. Banksy is a graffiti artist, painter, activist, filmmaker who is a real game changer. In 2010, Banksy was among the world’s 100 most influential people in Times Magazine’s list.
Banksy’s work broke through the commercialization of graffiti art. This once seen chaotic act made it to museums. His work is now sold for millions of dollars. Here are some of his work:
Nothing is nobler than the act of self-expression through any form. To create art work that can make people look, hold on and think to be altered for good. Our urban experience in the street still has a lot to offer. Over the years, the people did not really need a canvas to express their ideas. The canvas has always been right there.