Street Art: Crime or Art?

Topics: Graffiti, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hip hop Pages: 5 (1532 words) Published: April 12, 2011
What is Street Art?
Street art is arguably classed as Urban Art and also known as Contemporary Art. This form of Art represents the voice of the lower class in debate with the political class, they express themselves with sprays on plaster and endure 'A life spent scribbling in books scrambling over walls and fences, scrawling on any available surface'.

It is today accepted by designers and artists who also are influenced by these contemporary visualised forms, this form of contemporary art has changed the views of many and has given society its own taste of mixed, demanding, and subjected opinions.

This worldwide craze of 'innovative styles' craved attention of many. Graffiti artists like Banksy, Twist and Basquiat resulted in 'International Attention' because of their work being highly influential regarding social and political aspects. However Street Art normally is also seen as pure vandalism to the walls of public and a form of disgrace to society by those individuals who rebel. It is also believed to be supported by Fascists who have been involved in expressing Nazi Images. Street art evolves from graffiti; it is graffiti that has allowed street art to progress solely and being presently labelled as 'Modem Graffiti'.

It has allowed the unknown rebels of society to be heard on the cold walls of cities and the back streets. The purpose of Graffiti and how it was formed can be explored through the effects of society, the period, environmental surroundings theoretical and historical aspects.

There is a certain way of linking street art with the historical context, the period within the ancient civilisations and the Roman Empire used forms of expressing a form of art on a walls of certain buildings.

The first places for street art to have a huge impact on were America - New York, Madrid, London, Barcelona and many other parts of the world thereafter. However a lot of the works have taken place on surfaces of public places like trains, shop shutters, subways, street walls, street name plates parks and motorways. It could be argued that Street Art is Art that is expressed by nearly everybody in some way or the other, lovers leaving their names and date on a tree for example: 'Ken & Sue 4eva 9t8'. Or to engrave a deceased name on a park bench are ways of expressing ones inner feelings to the public- the outside world. Street Art is a way of expressing the dark assumed- pessimistic views of individuals who feel they have a say in political and social issues regarding their surroundings, these lower class individuals expose their personal statements in a cheap and easy way that takes a short duration for the public to acknowledge. This theory is also explored in the book of 'Beautiful Losers' where it acknowledges and discusses the idea of 'codes and conducts', as the 'ruling class' provides 'codes and conducts' for society to follow you get the minority of working class who oppress against these rulings in order to get their feelings and opinions across 'freely'.

Jean Michel Basquiat is a pure example of an individual off the streets living in extreme poverty. He is famous for his work on cultural and social graffiti work, he usually signed off his work with the famous recognisable tag name 'SAMO' which meant 'Same Old S**t'. His slogan explaining the same old life ... Political leaders feel artists of the streets are nothing but criminal offenders, there images are seen as nothing but an offence to the public leading to propaganda and exploitation of the govenunent.

Urban policies and campaigns were emerged to, 'Keep Britain Tidy' and, 'Zero Tolerance'. Therefore the new rulings of Fines are given on the spot when committing a criminal offence.
'Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 is Britain's latest Anti - Graffiti Legislation was made apparent. These ruling strongly apply to Street Art, artists and deprive them from there cheap, fast and incorporate messages. So could this then be an end to modem Street art?...
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