One of the most truly beautiful attributes of art in all its gloriously different forms and genres is that each piece is always up for personal interpretation.
One, decidedly more modern type of art, street art, is incredibly interesting and often criminally underappreciated by most people, not just in this country, but farther afield as well. With this in mind, continue reading to learn four fascinating facts you never knew about street art.
1. Street Art Began Earlier Than You May Think
The first pioneers of the art form referred to simply as ‘Street Art’ began creating their innovative pieces in the early 1980s, with inspirational Richard Hambleton Art launching the genre and encouraging younger artists to follow.
Before this, people used to graffiti, (not the same), the sides of trams and trains, as well as walls in a certain neighborhood in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a way of asserting their gang’s dominance over another.
2. Street Art is Designed to Impress Other Street Artists
Famous street artists such as Banksy, for example, are celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and beyond for their thought-provoking work by members of the public, but the true motivational heart of street art is to inspire other artists.
There is a strong sense of community amongst street artists, especially in the same local area and a high level of competition between artists. The best way for an individual street artist to assert their place is to create a masterpiece to provoke the proverbial green-eyed monster in another.
3. Street Art Created an Entire Theme Park
Speaking of Banksy, he created an entire theme park on the site of an abandoned one in England based around his street artistry, humorously named ‘Dismaland’, in a direct black comedy parody of the various Disneyland parks.
Staff at Dismaland all wore bright pink vests with the word ‘Dismal’ emblazed on the back and Banksy created ten brand new pieces of artwork for the ‘Bemusement Park’, which were combined with work from several other prominent artists, including the following:
- A mushroom cloud by Dietrich Wegner
- ‘The History of Pain’ by Damien Hirst
- A horse made from scaffolding by Ben Long
- Portraits of the back of visitors’ heads by Nettie Wakefield
- A woman being attacked by birds by Banksy
4. Street Artists Only Use One Base Material
One characteristic of professional street artwork, as opposed to graffiti from a member of the public, is that ‘proper’ street artists use a special adhesive substance created from water, glue and flour, which they refer to as wheat paste.
Wheat paste which has been painted over again with a top coat will only last for approximately six months, which is why street art is one of the most temporary and fleeting forms of artwork that exists in the modern day. If street artists choose to create their new piece of artwork in a hurry and without a top coat, their work may last less than three months.