Description: Our towns and cities are saturated with the imagery of commerce and advertising, but alongside it a new creative phenomenon is demanding our attention: art, on the street, available for everyone to see. From huge murals to exquisite miniature are that can easily be missed, the examples here are powerful expression of what it is to be a modern human living in an urban landscape.
Stats: Non-Fiction Art: Street Art, 128 pages, Published by Arcturus Publishing Limited, September 2012.
My Rating: 4 STARS
Whenever I see truly captivating street art I always wish I could take a peek inside the artist's mind. I'm begging for context. Why do they do what they do? Why were they inspired to create what they have created? Street Art: From Around the World gives a lot of information about the changing landscape of street art through focusing on well known street artists.
|Jimmy C, Whitby St, Shoreditch, London 2011 akajimmyc.com|
This book takes a look at art done by the people best known for signing their name to the medium of street art at large. Despite the fact that there are plenty of names in this book you will probably have heard of before, there are also plenty of artists that you will be more then happy to be introduced to. (Like Jimmy C and his drip paintings as seen to the left). This works out great because it limits the scope to focusing only on people who are out spoken about what they do and their methods. This is a lot more informative then trying to devolve details from anonymous street artists who come and go in the middle of the night or people who are more concerned about not getting arrested. Information is known about these artists and they are a lot more open about the statement their trying to make and where their methods come from.
You're getting introduced to a person and not just a single photograph of something cool. In Street Art: From Around the World the artists are not interviewed or quoted outright, but Garry Hunter has done enough research that their personalities and careers shine through along side full glossy photographs of their work with every magnificent detail in perfect focus.
Because of this focus we also get an interesting look at the acceptance and commercialization of street art. It's a topic weaved throughout the book as Hunter emphasises the ways some of these street artists have gotten recognized in more traditional ways. Having taken their work from the street to galleries, professional partnerships, and community initiatives.
One of the most fascinating instances of this in the book was Nek Chand from Chandigarh, India and his Rock Garden. You can see photos, videos, and a lot of information about the Rock Garden on the Nek Chand Foundation website. It takes street art to an entire new level.
"When Nek Chand’s magic kingdom was first discovered it should, by rights, have been destroyed. It was built illegally on government owned land, in violation of strict planning laws that protected Le Corbusier’s 'City Beautiful', where everything had to be a part of the great master plan. Many politicians demanded the Rock Garden's destruction as an illegal development. Others, following public opinion and their own tolerant enlightenment, ensured that the Rock Garden became a well funded public park. Nek Chand was relieved of his duties as a government roads inspector and given a salary to continue with the expansion of the Rock Garden with the title 'Creator-Director'." - Nek Chand Foundation Website
|VHILS Wall Art: alexandrefarto.com/Walls|
In the book we are introduced to artists via their chosen medium. There are artists that use posters, paint, multi-medium, photography, carving, sculpture, mosaic, etc. The variety of styles and purposes was absolutely amazing!
Another remarkable artist that this book introduced me to is VHILS and his wall carving! He uses tools to carve into the distressed walls of urban environments and then paints it to create a breathtaking image. It's just so WOW that I can't even begin to describe it. To see some of his work in full detail check out his website!
I loved having this book give me more then just a collection of photographs and that is what I ended up enjoying about it. I would definitely recommend this as a starter book for anyone interested in learning the basics of what street art really is as well as the people they should be keeping an eye out for. It's easy to read, there isn't a lot of long or drawn out paragraphs, and it provides talking points that I just haven't seen in other books about street art.
This is a stunning look at just what is possible with a creative mind and a wall to paint on.