Miranda Donovan explores the invasion of graffiti from the exterior world of landscapes and buildings to the interior one– of bathrooms, bedrooms, and yes, even galleries, where street artists are finding more and more of a home these days. However, Donovan’s work is not just about street politics or the art of tagging here– each piece also examines the quality, textures, associations, and contexts of walls themselves.
Of her work, in Cool Hunting, Donovan states, “The point of departure is a wall, which so often people just overlook . . . It’s something in our daily space constantly, internally and externally, and there’s a romanticism in that, which draws me in. The different combination of languages, the grid, the broken plaster breaking up that grid, the colors, the erosion, is something that really excites me. It’s about combining those languages to tell a story about the passage of time and the analogy of the human psyche, peeling back the onion layers to find the core.”
The work of legendary street artist Banksy is now iconic, even throughout the larger art world. Photographer Nick Stern uses these easily recognizable images as a starting point. Stern literally brings Banksy’s pieces to life. He restages the wall art using real people and objects in place of the spray paint and posters. Using living subjects adds emphasis to the often powerful and startling art of Banksy.
Despite its 130 year history Paris’ building known as Les Bains was declared unsafe in 2010. The building will undergo renovations and reopen in 2014. In the meantime, however, the building’s owner has opened it up to street artists. The residency program, known as One Day One Artist, allows artists to work in the sprawling building. The result is a kind of street art heaven. A small selection of the artists involved are pictured here: (respectively) The Atlas, Seth, Sambre, Jeanne Susplugas, SWIZ, Philippe Baudelocque, ZeeR, Thomas Canto, and STEN LEX. [via]
Street artist Sy creates cleanly crafted murals. Rather than a hurriedly executed work, Sy’s pieces appear to be carefully planned to the extent of nearly seeming more at home in Adobe Illustrator than on an alley wall. Sy clearly references and draws inspiration from 8-bit graphics and the block y polygons of early computer animation. However, the simplistic graphics style really betray an expert use of light and perspective. Subtle color shifts and familiar imagery in a surprising context add depth to the murals of Sy.
The subtly subversive work of artist Roadsworth fits well in the long history of street art. However, rather than finding his art on the wall, you’ll need to look down. Roadsworth, as his name suggests, sticks to asphalt. Making slight additions with paint to the language of road symbols, Roadsworth provides drivers and pedestrians alike with brain-interruptions for the morning commute. Roadsworth explains:
“The ubiquitousness of the asphalt road and the utilitarian sterility of the “language” of road markings provided fertile ground for a form of subversion that I found irresistible. I was provoked by a desire to jolt the driver from his impassive and linear gaze and give the more slow-moving pedestrian pause for reflection. The humourlessness of the language of the road not to mention what I consider an absurd reverence for the road and “car culture” in general made for an easy form of satire.” [via]
Artist and designer Jay Shells is behind the twitter feed @TheRapQuotes. He dispenses daily notable rap quotes as tweets. He has since taken the idea to the street. Shells creates street signs of hip hop quotes that mention specific places, then posts the signs at their mentioned locations. Many of the lines are from iconic songs and legends of the genre – easily recalled. Adding the context of an actual location with the signs adds further depth the memorable tracks they reference.
The murals of graffiti artist Peeta definitely, and nearly literally, stand out. Peeta uses a a familiar style peculiar to street art murals and tags. However, using careful perspective and shading, he’s able to create the illusion of depth. His work seems to twist and wind just above the wall’s surface. While Peeta does also create sculptural versions of his street art inspired work, the images featured here are entirely two dimensional. [via]
The street art of Brad Downey is a special breed of subversive. Downey approaches the city with the open mind of a child but interacts with it in all seriousness. His work emphasizes city features and spaces that are often quickly passed by. Downey then interacts with these spaces in an artistic manner – a manner which strangely feels as natural as their utilitarian purposes. I find myself wanting to try many of these simple pieces out in my own neighborhood.