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The problem with street art

Why street art pieces always make me sceptical at first glance.

Author: Christophe Stoll
Date: 20. April 2009

The problems with street art

I would say I’m a big fan of street art generally. I always loved urban visual culture “hacking” the often uniform appearance and identiy of a city – from the early days of Graffiti, to the classics, to the more unusual or advanced approaches.

This morning I came by a brand new piece, drawn on the pavement with chalk. It was totally attracting my interest, but I was also struggling to actually pay attention. It wasn’t about the piece itself – it’s nothing special I’d say, apart from the fact it is trying to be interactive (when I was first passing by, the chalk crayon was perfectly placed in its circle, when I came back 3 minutes later to take the photo, I already found it a meter away, knocked over and in crumbs and I had to carefully move it back for the shot).

I think my hesitation comes from being afraid of getting pulled into some more or less clever corporate street advertising campaign. The scepticism to look at it more deeply, but mainly to take a photo or write something about street art pieces in general. Same with apparently “misused” billboards where there is “art”, or pieces that look like art instead of the common ad bills – is it a street artist, using the opportunity of empty billboards, or just another outlet for an advertising campaign, officially and legally booked by some media agency?

I do for sure not categorically reject advertisment in the urban environment, apart from 98% of it being rubbish it totally belongs to urban visual culture. But in the realms of street art in the truest sense of the word, it really leaves mixed feelings when purely commercial corporations are trying to make such an originally independent creative movement their brand ambassador.

Update: Just found this video by Antiadvertisingageny that fits in here a bit.

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  1. 2158 arbres et 155 000 arbustes et plantes, sur 14,5 hectares.

    zoo de beauval groupon on 6. March 2015

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