If art on the streets is mentioned, a lot of people will think of graffiti and spray paint on the walls of buildings and public transport. However, modern artists have taken street art to a whole new level as they have begun to use urban spaces as a backdrop for arts that support social movements and spread awareness on important social and political issues. Public places are essential venues to urban artists with purpose as urban spaces are more able to reach and attract more people. In addition to using urban and public areas as a canvas, the culture of the digital age also empowers artists as their work gets featured on social media. This enables them to have a broad reach to attract a fan base and engage them in addressing significant issues in society.
Why Street Art is Important
There are many reasons why street art has become a welcome addition to urban areas like city centers and industrial or business centers. First and foremost, street artists are promoting the idea of expressing freedom and diversity. More than the exciting content and the subjects of street art pieces, they are an art form that is not limited by the four corners of a frame.
Street art is an excellent way for artists to spread social awareness on essential concerns of the day, such as discrimination and mental health. Another is that street art can make the gray and dull view of city life more colorful and add to the positive atmosphere of city dwellers. In some areas, street art has an added role in bringing a community together. Some communities organize mural paintings of schools or the walls in a town’s main streets. Artists collaborate with the local government or businesses to beautify the community’s surroundings.
The Street Art Movement
The popularity of social media and the digital culture increased public awareness and appreciation for street art. An example of this is the rise to international fame of street artists Banksy and Shepard Fairey who were known to feature political struggles around the world in their art. Banksy’s stencil art often tackle themes connecting to ethics, politics, and culture. He has made his statements known in the leading European capitals of the world and their own art museums. On the other hand, Fairey or “Obey” leads the poster art style in urban art. His work on the streets comments on the impact of advertising and media consumption.
Through the years, street artists have also taken their talents to more than social and political awareness. More and more urban art started to feature human-centered pieces whose primary goal is to encourage people and bring positivity into their life. This might have been a response to the increased awareness of society into the troubling concerns of mental health, depression, and suicide cases. The shift in the subjects and purpose of street art led more and more individuals to view this genre of art in a brighter light. The angst-driven and rebellious view of street artists as graffiti makers are starting to be overshadowed by the present public’s view of how these artists send positive messages on being strong and striving to achieve one’s dreams. Street art has been becoming a welcome addition in urban spaces as they provide visual aesthetics and moral support to their audience.