Street art: an artistic message in the modern urban environment
Throughout the existence of humankind, at different periods, relevant criteria have been formed for informative means and the subject matter of works of art. The twentieth century was characterised by a fundamental reinterpretation of the meaningfulness and information-bearing message of art, which had lost its dominance of basic informational values – conveying aesthetic ideals, education of society in the spirit of harmony and beauty, introducing moral qualities with the use of artistic means, ideological orientation, etc. In stark contrast to traditional art and to centuries-old artistic means of delivering certain information was street art, and the root cause of its emergence were the social problems of the post-war period in poor New York neighbourhoods. Growing in the reality of unemployment, general depression and poverty, children invented new forms of entertainment using whatever they could find around. And then, some years later, these new forms instantly reached almost all the countries of the world – both poor and rich. Yes, those post-war years brought skateboards, rap, graffiti and street art in the forms in which we know them today. Gradually, the meaningfulness of street art greatly deepened and expanded. In addition to self-expression and social protest, the list of topics also started to include an individual’s protest against total globalization. Political implications also appeared. For example, they are definitely characteristic for the graffiti and murals of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. In the process of its development, legal street art was separated from illegal, purely amateur, spontaneous street art and artists who started “commercial street art” appeared, even though it would be more correct to call it urban art or simply modern art, since it is no longer created in street conditions, but is rather increasingly becoming the prerogative of art galleries and private customers. The attitude of other artists who do not consider their work for commerce is often somewhat ambiguous, as they promote art outside politics and commerce, i.e. “art for art’s sake”. A similar phenomenon concerned street art which originated in parallel with it. However, it was also determined by the needs of the creative development of young artists without available financing, became an art cluster, or rather a creative cluster which emerged due to the availability of a significant number of unused industrial enterprises where empty rooms were rented by artists for a token fee.
The peculiarity of street art is its self-sufficiency, as its main narrative is intervention in urban space. In this case, the purpose of the narration of each artist is different: a particular message to leave a memory, a reaction to a political event, a form of protest, creative inspiration, etc. When street art evolves from spontaneous acts of art to an exhibit at a festival or gallery space, it can acquire a trans-media character, complemented by dances, performances or music.
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