the ontology of street art

Drill Team Majorette

Back in the 90’s the statement saying “an event is not what happens, but what can be narrated” seemed radical and real badass postmodern. Today with the transformation of reality through social media and everybody carrying a camera at all times, the statement is rendered rather obvious. If you can’t tell about or share photos of an event, it has no social relevance and hence has not happened.

It’s more or less the same when doing street art. If one got nothing to show on the streets, nothing has happened. Of cause there are lots of hours put in to the getting ideas, testing them, sketching, discarding ideas, stock up ideas that’ll work but on any wall available, drawing, cutting stencils, experimenting with colors, and what not – but it is only what is done on the street that really happens – exists.

Surely the anonymity has something to do with it. Not putting a name and a face on the creator, also hides the creation as process. One day the wall is blank, the next day there is a work of art on it, but the creation is seldom documented and therefore is socially nonexistent. I guess in some ways there will be elements of this within all creative professions, but it is accentuated in street art with the contrast of the anonymity of the creator and the extreme public life of the created work.

There is a very real consequence of this: In periods where I work on a lot of projects, putting in all the late hours, day after day, cutting stencils till my eyes aches and fingers literally bleeds, but when nothing hits the street, I have this feeling of not producing anything. Cause when not painting on the street, one is not making street art. At times this is a frustrating truth.

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the ontology of street art

One thought on “the ontology of street art

  1. Well done: you kept the tone of this post necessarily hopeful by avoiding the natural segue to the frustrations of getting scrubbed. As often, I agree very much with your musings, especially in relation to the purest existence of street art being…on actual streets. Your points on digital validity are truer than ever: sadly, this dichotomy haunts the current era of art and design. Ironically, art’s duty is to wrestle with and within the context of its own current. Maybe this makes things harder for those of us creating live art for the people; maybe this challenge makes our execution of street pieces that much more visceral, real, and in sync with their environment. Hmmm, in the end, we might therefore learn to love the digital currency for its constraining of reality and the realism this affords modern perceptions of public street art (PSA?). Ha, there’s my public service announcement (PSA?) for the day! 😉

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