As stated earlier, street art in my opinion is always political. The act of painting on the street is in it self a political act regardless of the image – a paint act. Nevertheless, regardless of any politics, or explicit symbolism, street art has many other «functions».
It is there for all – open for interpretations but yet involuntary in nature. Everyone can and will be exposed to it. One does not have to seek it actively in a gallery. It has an element of surprise. Makes people, stop, think, smile, or be provoked. Street art makes a difference and creates some friction in an often otherwise dull, mindless environment.
In this respect, street art is aesthetic in the original meaning of the notion. Aesthetic, in its Greek roots, means to perceive or to feel. The opposite is anaesthetic – to produces anaesthesia and insensibility.
Aesthetics then does not mean prettiness, but to react emotionally, morally and intellectually. Street art at its best is mind-opening and thought provoking. It challenge insensibility and anaesthesia, and open up for reflection. In our over-entertained, over-informed late capitalist society, creating this kind of friction may be a necessary response to advertising and media culture. Regardless of all this – to make passers-by smile and wonder should still be enough…