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exitnirvana's avatar

Looking for some suggestions on my Undergrad Art History thesis topic, any takers?

Asked by exitnirvana (912points) January 26th, 2009

I’m writing my undergrad thesis on contemporary graffiti and street art, and for those who are familiar, which artists turn you on and why? What is being said on the walls of our urban environments, and what do you think is their greatest influence?
Any purists out there, what do you think?

…sorry, this question is pretty heavy!

EDIT: Oh, and for the sake of avoiding a lot of redundancy and argumentation here (which has been brought to my attention from previous posts), I’m actually analyzing the visual culture of the images being created, NOT whether its vandalism; that has already been argued—to death. More or less, I’m looking for an audience’s response to new street art media beyond just tagging, i.e. urban renewal, reverse & light graffiti, pedestrian disturbance, spatial projects.

The subculture has evolved drastically even within the past 6 months, so instead of the normal run of the mill argument, I need an general audience’s response to what messages contemporary works portray, and how they have become a staple of our socio-visual and popular culture.

Suggestions of lesser known artists would be appreciated, as well as any casual analysis of imagery and content!

SO, with that said…any insight?

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8 Answers

trumi's avatar

I think we all love Banksy because he makes us think, and makes us laugh. Also, Shepherd Fairy shows us that just because something starts as graffiti doesn’t mean it can’t turn into something awesome.

As for local stuff, I hate tags and bombs but love pieces and murals. Any piece that really takes time deserves recognition as art, not just spray paint. But placement is really important – I’m always okay with it in alleys and under bridges, but obviously never on cars or homes.

There are several writers on here you could talk to, and lots of questions that have been asked about it before.

Good luck!

lefteh's avatar

There are some really intriguing arguments and thoughts here. Might be worth a look.

I’m pretty sure I said everything I have to say on the subject there.

buster's avatar

I would rather see graffiti than plain old walls when Im roaming around a city.
L.T.D. Crew 503.

Megan64's avatar

Banksy definitely, and Twist (Barry McGee), Margaret Kilgallen. It should be both on the street and in museums. I love graffiti art, but like @trumi, hate tags.

exitnirvana's avatar

@lefteh, thanks for the link, def. a wealth of feedback there. I apologize for the redundancy!

Sorceren's avatar

I think that a profitable comparison might be drawn between street artists today and street artists of the last similar economic downturn. Is the boom in this permanent way to get your vision out there fueled by the bust in the economy? Is the subject matter similar? Are the demographics comparable?

Alternatively, might this simply be a reflection of our “now” instant-fame, YouTube culture? A much faster, cheaper route than hiring an agent and buying canvases?

Best of luck on your thesis.

exitnirvana's avatar

@Sorceren: that line of comparison never even crossed my mind and looking at it that way does make sense in terms of relevence of what I’m trying to grasp a better understanding of. I can definitely say that art on the artists terms seems to be the name of the game lately.

Sorceren's avatar

OK, so they’re definitely not going to be pro-tradition or pro-agent. Rebel Art in more than one way!

Are street and graffiti artists more or less likely than formally taught artists to enter contests? The answer might highlight where exactly their creative fuel comes from, don’t you agree?

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