Sunday, 9 December 2012

Graffiti and Street Art

Caves at Lascaux, France
Drawings and paintings on cave walls from the Palaeolithic period are the first example of artist using the walls around them as their canvas  (17, 300 years old)

Discovered in 1940 by four teenagers
The paintings depicted scenes of everyday life, hunting etc.
They were scratched on to the cave walls with animal bones, natural pigments

Pompeii, Italy
Graffiti on the wall, from ancient Rome, Pompeii. 
It was discover in 1749 , after it had been buried under volcanic ash for centuries.

Similar vulgarities to contemporary sexual graffiti

Engraving on Kilroy on the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C

20 th Century
Author Charles Panati says that in the US "the mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke... The outrageousness of the graffiti was not so much what it said, but where it turned up."  
Kilroy spread by us troops around world
Humour out of hardship

Chris Osburn
American freelance photojournalist and filmmaker living and working in London. As a foreign correspondent for publications such as Juxtapoz and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Chris covers England's burgeoning graffiti scene from the frontline, often accompanying notorious street artists on their outings.

A list of the renowned artists which Chris has photographed in action includes Sweet Toof, Cyclops, Sickboy and Dan Witz. He has interviewed significant contemporary urban artists such as Paul Insect, David Choe and Invader and has extensively photographed the works of numerous legendary artists, including Jef Aerosol, Adam Neate, and Banksy.

1970's New York

Spray can Graffiti arises
It evolves alongside hip hop culture 
Making the Language of the streets visible, and noticeable they didn't want to be ignored.

Jon Naar 1973 (photographer)

Cleaning the truck with Ajax
Writing with marker pen means that anonymity preserved.

‘Via trains and buses the writers sent their messages to more affluent parts of the city as well as leaving their mark on public spaces.”

He makes a distinction between this kind of work in the 70’s and the ‘permission graff’ of comissioned graffiti in designated areas which is not illegal.

“you will see that the vast majority of these writers came from the most run-down and neglected sections of New York….predominantly Hispanic and African American. The graffiti they sprayed on the fronts of their homes and on the trains… were a cry for change from the ghetto to clean up the filthy streets, to improve the quality of the schools, and to reduce the glaring inequality between rich and poor.” 

American artist, Jean Michel Basquiat. His career in art began as a graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s, and in the 1980s produced Neo-expressionist painting. Basquiat died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.

In 1976, Basquiat and friends Al Diaz and Shannon Dawson began spray-painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO.
“the same old shit,” then shortening the phrase to "Same Old", then "SAMO"

“It started…as a private joke and then grew” 
Diaz and Basquiat would later tell the Village Voice in an interview. They took the joke out of the school, giving out small stickers with SAMO aphorisms or the SAMO pamphlet on paper on the subway, and writing down the phrases with marker pens as graffiti, often with an ironic copyright symbol attached. In 1977, while they were still students, Basquiat and Diaz started to put up the first SAMO© Graffiti in Manhattan    

Appeared as poetic/sarcastic phrases.


Neo Expressionist Painting

Graffiti style turned into painting
TV, film, music videos, band
In 1981, Rene Ricard published "The Radiant Child" in Artforum magazine, which brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world.
Exhibitions, celebrity
Painted in Armani suits

Keith Haring, 1990, Radiant Baby
Keith Haring an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.
Friend of Warhol and Basquiat

In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper and painted plastic, metal and found objects.

In 1984, Haring visited Australia and painted wall murals in Melbourne.
Other commissions are in; Rio, Paris and Berlin

There are issues of permanency in street art.

Keith Haring, Pop Shop
Selling t-shirts, toys, posters bearing his signature images, it became a celebrity hang out

When asked about the "commercialism" of his work, Mr. Haring said: "I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.

Artist as a brand.

Jenny Holzer, Times Square Show , 1980    
John Feckner, Broken Promises, 1980

Truisms- a self evident truth
They make you think by their presentation.

TATS CRU , 1997, for Coca-Cola

Graffiti has been used as a means of advertising both legally and illegally. In NYC, Bronx-based TATS CRU has made a name for themselves doing legal advertising campaigns for companies like Coca ColaMcDonald'sToyota, and MTV Sony.

Comment on the lack of availability of brands and technology in the Eastern bloc.

The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic on 13th, August, 1961. It completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin
In 1989, a radical series of political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc,
After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9th, November, 1989, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. 
Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest.

Graffiti in Video Games

Jet Set Radio (2000-2003)    
This game depicts a future Tokyo where freedom of expression is outlawed. The user plays a character in the GG's, a gang of in-line skating graffiti artists who skate around Tokyo covering up rival gangs' graffiti, knocking over Rokkaku police, and dancing to the eclectic soundtrack. The game uses a cel-shaded style of animation, and has been widely acclaimed for its unique music style, detailed art, and gameplay.

Bomb the world (2004) PS2
Created by graffiti artist Klark Kent where users can virtually paint trains at 20 locations worldwide.

Sideways New York, PS3, 2011
Grand Theft Auto, 'Auto Tagging'

Charcters inspired by space invaders classic game of 70’s/80’s

French artist, born 1969
First mosaic in mid 1990’s Paris
Mosaic tile which has permanency as it is weatherproof and more difficult to remove than paper/paint
Tiles are representative of pixels
The ‘invasion’ spreads first across French cities and then 22 countries worldwide

Re- Emergence of Street Art

Banksy, Kate Moss
Shepard Fairey, 2008
Big names in graffiti, like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, mean that graffiti is once again brought back into the art gallery.
Street art enters the worlds of art and politics
The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster "the most efficacious American political illustration since 'Uncle Sam Wants You'

Parisian Photographer JR, Favela Morro Da Provienda- Rio, 2008    
International picture
Pasted giant blow-ups of his photographs (usually of ordinary people). Highlight social realities like the women of the Favela in Rio, their eyes looking down protectively over the  neighbourhood.

VHILS, ( Alexandre Farto), London 2008
In situ
Plaster chipped off wall to create sculptural relief
Leke St tunnel beneath Waterloo Station
Part of Banksys Cans festival

“The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700km- the distance from London to Zurich. The wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the worlds largest open prison. It also makes it the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.”- Banksy 2005

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