You might call it street art, public art, guerilla art or even graffiti. During warm weather, street art is one way for artists to communicate with their community. We’ll take a walk and explore street art.
NOTE: If you’re interested in creating street art, see the “Street Art Basics” badge program.
1. Why street art?
The street artist may be creating art for a variety of reasons, but normally, it comes down to three main points.
- Beautify an area
- Question the world, including politics, beliefs, norms, etc.
- Interact with their community
As you explore street art in your community, try to figure out what the artist is trying to say as well as how you interpret the art.
Street art is a way for the artist to express himself. Artists choose this type of art for a variety of reasons.
- Free — don’t have to pay to display it or view it
- Accessible — anyone walking by can view it
- Personal expression — show, not tell
- Anonymous — you don’t have to tell anyone who you are
- Temporary — nothing lasts forever
What other characteristics can you name?
3. Destruction or creation?
Many people believe street art is destruction of property. They do not want their buildings / neighborhoods to host street art for the public. Find out if your area has any legal restrictions to street art.
Explore street art
Take a walk in your community. Take your camera with you if you would like to document any of the art you find. See where street art is placed, the form it takes and whether people notice it or simply walk by.
5. Take a walk on the virtual side.
If you cannot find street art locally, go online to experience street art and images that others have shared. Save those that speak to you and note why it does so.
6. Interact with environment.
How does the street art interact with the environment where it is placed? Does it seem to be part of the landscape or in direct contrast? Was it obvious or subtle?
7. Cultural landscape.
Does the street art use a cultural voice? Does the design or story fit with the area it is placed in? Does it interact with the community? How might it be adjusted to create a cultural voice?
8. Stories it tells.
Does the street art tell a story? Does it take a stand on an issue that you agree or don’t agree with? How do you feel when you look at the art? If you don’t understand the story, you can still enjoy it but it won’t resonate with you.
Most street art is interactive with its viewer and environment. In addition, some street art can be interactive like a book left behind in a public restroom for you to take, read and return to another public bathroom. Find interactive street art and take part.
10. Talk to others.
Find out what others think of the art you find. Do this with the people who live in the area and / or with people online. You may find reactions vary greatly with the two groups to the art.
Sites to Explore