Many are the artists throughout history that have made the fine arts evolve into different styles and techniques. Pablo Picasso and Geoges Braque left everyone with their mouths open when they saw the first cubist paintings. Trastan Tzara and Jean Arp broke up with all art conventionalisms leading to Dadaism. Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian took to the extreme the recovery of the form lost in impressionism and expressionism, giving rise to abstraction.
Well, nowadays, we have in front of our eyes many artists going beyond “conventional” art and, with their own ideas and styles, are defining the basis of new artistic movements. Below we will give seven reasons to believe in urban art.
1. Because the street is a museum
Since Banksy turned from being an unknown graffiti artist pursued by the law to one of the most sought after artists by major collectors, urban art is not a thing about two kids with a couple of spray cans painting on the streets anymore. Now they are closely seen. Each street artist has his or her own style and meaning. Today, we have in some cities, a great museum in front of our eyes every time we leave our home. Internet is full of pictures of abandoned walls with elaborated works shown out in the open. It is possible that, as some of these artists achieve greater recognition, these walls may disappear and end up in a mansion of someone that has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his or her own private benefit. Of course, nothing could be further from the artist’s intention.
2. Because we understand the message
Most of urban artists are young people concerned and with access to new technologies; they know what’s happening in the world. For example, in the globalized world we live in, it is very easy to know the situation of less fortunate countries, and we are more affected by it because we see the injustice with just a click; consumerism in western countries is growing steadily, maybe because we receive advertising through a wider range of media that creates needs, in many cases, absurd.
Urban artists take as a reference the reality of the world that surrounds them to express themselves and, since it is the same reality that embraces our lives, we feel identified with them and therefore with their message.
3. Because it makes us think
Each work is the image of a thought, opinion, reflection or critic done by the artist. A painting on a wall is not only there to decorate or to spread a signature and its style. If we pay attention to what we are seeing, we will notice that the image also transmits something that makes us think. Normally these artists draw on their ingenuity to get to us and make us reflect on their message. Whether it's taking a smile from us, horrifying us with brutality or delighting us with a really nice design, they try to surprise us and this way, without realizing it, we end up taking some time and making an inner reflection about their work.
4. Because it is within reach of many
Artists like Banksy or Kaws are already so renowned that their original work has inevitably been quite appreciated. Others, like Martin Whatson or Pure Evil are starting to set a trend, and it is to assume that their value will be increased in a close future. The good thing is that, as if being the new Warhols, these artists believe that their work should be owned by of anyone that wants it without having to pay out a considerable amount. For this reason all these artists have, besides their original works, a wide market of prints where we can find plenty of techniques such as screenprints, lithographs or gliclées of limited editions that they sign and number themselves, so that a bigger public can have access to their work.
5. Because there are no limits using techniques
Artists like Mr. Brainwash or Lora Zombie don’t have academic studies but they have developed from their talent a style of their own that makes them unique. Either if it’s by watercolour, collage or mixed media, many of these artists have created a particular label that tells them apart from others. As an example, Roamcouch creates his own stencils by hand, and weather it may seem unbelievable, his realistic cityscapes can take up to 50 layers hand drawn and hand cut.
Regarding graphic works, it is quite common to see screenprints hand finished with spray paint or layers of materials unusual in traditional printing.
6. Because it is an investment
Needless to say is that urban art, even though it has been brewing as an artistic movement for more than a decade, it is starting to have a relevant impact these days. It is to assume that all these young artists, with a short but yet very promising career will be highly appreciated in a future.
7. Because it helps to create a better society
Many are the artists that use their recognized status, achieved by merits of their own, to denounce injustice and help to create a better world. As an example, Shepard Fairey (OBEY) takes his message beyond elaborating along with his works some kind of manifesto which is intended to open our eyes to that reality known by all of us and to awake a feeling of commitment. In addition to this, with the sale of his works he sets aside a part of the money collected and donates it to social welfares.
Banksy, characteristic for his satirical and sharp message of social critizism, also collaborates with non-profitable projects in search of help for those in need.