Urban Art covers all examples of artistic manifestations such as graffiti, paintings, interventions and presentations developed in urban space, which differ from vandalism attitudes.
The preference for public space to make the demonstration of Urban Art aims to make an impact on the spectators, besides transmitting a revolutionary message, which criticizes society with irony. Usually, this kind of art describes the work of people who develop a style of artistic expression through the use of different alternative techniques such as posters, stickers, molds, murals, spray and others.
This style of art does not usually follow a pre-defined aesthetic pattern, because each artist has an individual purpose that stimulates their creativity.
Origin of Urban Art
First, street art appeared in Pre-Socratic Greece as a form of cultural and literary manifestation, where homeric aedos (singers) who sang verses and songs were found, trying to involve the public with their melody.
In the Middle Ages, it emerged with the troubadours, noble artists who recited verses and poetry at city and palace parties to entertain the nobility with the humming stories.
Later, Urban Art appeared in New York, United States, in the 70’s, with a dynamic and temporary characteristic. This way, the other styles of Urban Art appeared, starting from the written, sung and musical art, such as hip hop that appeared in the mid 60/70s in New York City and Berlin.
At that time, dance appeared as a political and social manifestation, opening space for other artistic movements such as street drawings, theatrical presentations, besides the “living statues”, an example of art possible to be found in the corners of big cities until today.
The first signs of Urban Art began to appear in the 1970s, with the works of graphite, which were made on the walls. Ironically or not, these paintings appeared in a very troubled time in history along with the repressions and censorship caused by the Military Dictatorship. In the beginning, there was no aesthetic concern with the letters, it was enough that they were readable to the point of transmitting the message of dissatisfaction of the people.
In the face of this, many of the street manifestations appeared as alternatives of communication, denunciation, and even as a source of income for marginalized people who lived in the peripheries of the country.
Purpose of art
The main idea of Urban Art or “street art”, as it is also called, is precisely to migrate from so-called “consecrated” places, that is, destined for exhibition and artistic presentations such as theaters, cinemas, libraries and museums, and to expand to places of visibility of everyday art, spread out on the streets.
For artists, street art does not need time, space, cultural movement or recognition to happen, it only needs the street, because this is the way it happens, in the least expected places: in ghettos, in dumps, under bridges, in damaged walls and in abandoned places.
In addition, street art communicates struggles, denunciations, and protests related to social and political issues or poetic manifestations. The greatest examples are paintings and graphite.
Types of Urban Art
Graffiti: without a doubt, the most popular manifestation of street art is graffiti. These are stylized designs usually made with sprays on the walls of buildings, tunnels, streets. The art, however, has expanded and currently there are several techniques such as the works made in 3D, which draws a lot of attention;
Presentations: the presentations are made individually or in groups. They are performed in the streets and can be theatrical, musical or circus, like jugglers and clowns, who stay at the traffic lights;
Installations: it is any type of object or distinct material used with the objective of provoking a change in the already existing scenery. Currently, countless types of artistic installations are found as examples of street art;
Stencil: quite similar to graphite, this type of technique uses the cut-out paper as a mold and the spray to fix the illustrations and drawings;
Posters: this is a very common type of urban intervention, where posters are fixed by the city;
Stickers and Collage: also called “sticker art”, this kind of art uses the application of stickers;
Poems: any kind of literary manifestation that appears in the urban environment, be it on benches, walls, poles, buses, etc;
Living Statues: statues are a very unusual example of Urban Art. Usually, artists present themselves painted and characterized. Quite often found in big cities as a form of tourist entertainment, living statues do an important job with the body.
For a long time, most of the artistic manifestations (graffiti) of the street were carried out without the prior authorization of the person in charge of the space, taking into consideration from the use of residential and business walls to the occupation of squares.
Faced with this situation, art gained fame as marginal, making many artists unwanted and considered criminals, even when they express themselves in public places.
Finally, although loaded with prejudice, the conceptual and critical character of Urban Art is what most attracts young people to this culture, maintaining even its growth. And the aesthetic character of graffiti has attracted more and more artists to the Urban Art movement.