Urban Street Art

street-artOne of the most contemporary and popular forms of artistic expression in today’s culture is urban street art. Urban street art has dominated many inner cities art culture and has revived communities, allowing them to once again have hope, faith, and pride in the area that they call home. In this post, I want to discuss some of the ways that urban street art is contributing to modern society.

Urban street art can take many forms, but its most common manifestation is through the work of city murals and paintings. This can be on the side of an overpass, an abandoned building, a sidewalk, or even a street corner itself. These are also just a few examples. Urban street art is virtually limitless in the amount of forms that it can take.

But what is key in understanding the urban street art phenomenon is to understand what has made it so popular and successful and there are a few things that go into this.

First, during the 1980s and 1990s many highly urban communities did not see many rewards from the booming economy of that time and as a result lost some of their bearings. The areas became less stable and more crime ridden. Many people began to lose hope in their community and needed a rallying point that they could claim as their own: a unifying vision that represented their community.

In comes urban street art.

Many artists, being intimately aware of the problems facing these inner-city communities themselves, started going through these communities giving the population exactly what they were looking for: a reminder of what their town represents. These artists were able to acutely capture the sentiments of the community because for the most part they were an integral part of it. These were not academic artists in the ivory tower; they were local, independent artists looking to make a difference, and as these artists started painting murals on old buildings and street blocks, people were quite literally given the vision that they once had of their communities.

In this way, urban street art is an art medium that brings together people of all classes, races, sexes, and background. It is a unifying medium that seeks to bring people together for a common cause of uplifting a community from its ruins.

Of course, urban street art need not be something an impoverished city does. Many wealthy cities like Chicago prominently display works of urban art in their downtown district. This is a testament to the far-reaching arm of the art itself that it can bridge income and with that culture gaps as well as other ones. In fact, many cities celebrate urban art displays with downtown art fairs all throughout their city with anything from sculptures, to painting, drawing and printmaking.

Urban street art is definitely here to stay and we would say has made an incredibly positive impact on the communities that it has touched. What about your community? Have you seen any street art popping up? If not, you should consider doing some; it could be the spark that reignites your town.

Pop Art’s Influencing Effect

soup-canArt itself is a creative medium that penetrates culture, racial boundaries, gender inequalities, or anything else you can think of. Art is something that is beyond all of these things but can at the same time be used to communicate messages about these underlying social conditions that we may see around us in modern society. Today let’s look at some of the ways that pop art has influenced modern society.

Pop art started in the mid 1950s in England and a few years later in the United States. It was a unique departure from the traditional fine arts because it implements scenes, depictions, illustrations, etc. from popular culture, hence the name “pop art.” Most people see its rise as a response to the ideas of abstract expressionism that were popular during the 1950s.

Pop art oftentimes depicts irony and satire in its work to overlay the political or cultural landscape of a time period. This element of pop art has led much of it to make social and political commentary on the status quo in American and British life. One of the most famous pop artists is Andy Warhol who was famous for his Campbell’s soup paintings and Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box during the 1960s. Also during the 1960s, the antiwar movement made great use of pop art, illustrating the power of this particular genre.

The ironic nature of pop art can perhaps be attributed to many of the popular ironic and satirical news services that have now become so popular in modern society. For example, two of the leading news television shows in American and abroad are the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. These television shows draw heavily upon the satirical influences that pop art first sought to exploit.

Another great example of pop art influence could be the success of popular sites like the Onion that seek to use popular culture and play upon it with satirical news stories. This would be an example of the traditional art form of canvas switching mediums into the written word, again showing the far reaching effects of art in popular culture and the influence pop art has had on society.

Pop art continues to be a popular medium today although it is not as in vogue as it once was during the 1960s. The pop art movements really seems to coalesce around the rise of the hippies and its fading away coincided with theirs. The art movement of today is primarily focused around post-modern art, but the influence of pop art can still be seen throughout society. It just takes a trained eye to locate it.

If you are interested in seeing and reading more about pop art, there are a number of great pop art museums around the United States and Great Britain that not only have full tours, but also have many of the works available to see online. If you visit their websites, you should be able to find everything you need to visits and further your learning of this great medium.