Media of the street. Made in Shoreditch
Graffiti or street art is the rawest form of media. It challenges culture and society through both its medium and its message. Artists don’t seek recognition, or celebration, but instead are motivated by sharing their work with a large audience, publicly, outside the confines and limitations of the modern establishment.
It avoids censor but is rarely defamatory or libellous. That would be too obvious.
The media arose with simple messages as a comment on World War II and has grown up as a form of visual activism spreading with artists internationally.
Critics dismiss it as vandalism, and the art and media establishment largely ignores it. That’s important as it ensure that street art remains a genre of sub-culture.
Stories from the street
In my view street art is a mirror on society that you won’t find in a focus group or tabloid newspaper. Business people and politicians would do well to take note.
In January, street artists were quick to express their support for satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and free speech following the attacks that killed 12 staff.
Work comments on cultural and political events, humanity, or is plain fun. It is almost always thought provoking.
Images are created using a variety of techniques from freehand spray painting, to stencils, stickers and posters.
Street art has become an international phenomenon as artists travel. Search for #graffiti and #streetart and let Flickr, Instagram and Wikipedia be your guide.
There’s a thriving scene in the UK. To find street art in London head to the Leake Street tunnel near Waterloo, or walk around the streets from Shoreditch up to Hoxton, in East London.
I walked up and down Brick Lane, Shoreditch yesterday from the south to the north, heading into the streets to the east and west, and spent a couple of hours discovering the stories of the street.
If you want something more structured Shoreditch Street Art Tours will lead you a three-hour walk around the area for £15 and is highly recommended by the TripAdvisor community. It also runs an excellent blog about new work in the area.
Here are some of my favourite images from yesterday. There are lots more in this Slideshare deck.