From the majestic Himalayas to the African bonfire, we travel far and near, sometimes to rekindle the passion of living and sometimes to invoke the rebel within. For the bona-fide explorer, nothing stimulates more than the smell of new pastures. So if your idea of the perfect vacation leads you through winding lanes and abandoned shelters in search of a world (or a wall) filled with diaspora of colours that evokes the nonconformist within you, then you have definitely landed up on the right page!
“Your Freedom of expression ends where my property begins” – Peter Vallone (a New York city counsellor)
The rebel’s subculture, graffiti & street art begins its story somewhere in between the thin line distinguishing Art and Vandalism. For decades now graffiti artists have demarcated the dilapidated walls of broken buildings as their canvas of expression, permeating popular culture to voice the dissent of the youth. Considered as “Destructive Creation”, the graffiti of the 40’s & 50’s streets was a form of raw art untamed by society. This rawness, however, has long since been lost, replaced by the more domesticated and illustrative version of Street Art that is rather pictorial in focus but still manages to contextualize the political and social stance of the discontent bourgeois.
Browse through the ephemeral work of these contemporary street artists that has managed to take the world by storm.
“This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people.” – BanKSy
Well on his way to becoming the most iconic street artist of all times, this anarchistic and enigmatic street artist from England has succeeded in capitalizing on his arts. From graffiti on gritty walls to painting on canvas and even directing a documentary film, Exit through the Gift Shop (nominated for Academy Award), Banksy has done it all.
“Every spoof gives more power to the original.” – S. Fairey
Homegrown into the skateboard sub-culture and punk rock of the mid 80’s, Shepard Fairey was among the few for whom the early underground realm of skateboarding transcended from a mere phase to a way of life, that futher paved his way to the world of propaganda street art. Known best for his Obama “Hope” campaign, Shepard Fairey is often criticized in popular culture as a “scan artist” since most of his works are referenced from other creations.
“Knitting and crocheting doesn’t have to be functional, it can be subversive, renegade — even illegal in certain cases. It’s bad ass!” – M. Sayeg
Known as the Mother of Yarn Bombing, Magda uses yarn instead of paint as her chosen tool of revolution. The DIY culture that permeated the rock scene and resulted in punk rock apparently reared its beautiful head in crafts too. Her work, covering mundane objects—street signs, stairs, gates, pipes—with colourful knit and crochet work has spawned a new movement in the street art scene that was previously unheard of. Needless to say, the result was dramatic!
“Every Wall has its own History.” – ROA
Hiding behind the pseudonym ROA, this street artist has literally brought out the animal inside through his series of amazing art work! A muralist from Ghen, Belgium, ROA uses a minimal colour palette – mainly black, white and red – to depict animals and birds that deals mainly with the circle of life and, to some extent, Biology.
“Street art doesn’t exist, there is just you and the world outside. Do what you like in the best way and think about what you are doing.” – BLU
An Italian street artist from Bologna, Blu’s work revolves around epic scale murals that are motivated by a belief in an open source philosophy, and usually involves collaborations with other artists. His work is strictly connected to contemporary socio-political controversies, and exudes a form of surrealism hard to ignore.
Modern day street art is not unstructured or extempore art, but schematically rendered in a very self-conscious and pictorial format that is now studied as a rejoinder to injustice or a cry for revolution and sometimes read as nothing more than a mere attempt to beautify the urban environment. From guided tours and street-art festivals to catwalk renditions and gallery exhibits, contemporary street art is reaching new vistas. So if you are in the mood for a little trip that would take you across oceans, don’t forget to catch up with the jazzy mood of the cities that’s splashed in colors of revolution.