Street art has become this phenomenon over the past few years and it appears to be only growing more and more. Arguably, it has become so popular because of the issues that it addresses and its informality. One example of the issues addressed is by Irish street artist Joe Caslin who created the marriage equality mural in April 2015 on George’s Street. This, similarly to other street art works, is relatable to countless numbers of people. This type of work speaks volumes. More examples include pretty much all of Banksy’s works. His child soldiers, armoured dove and twin towers are among only a few of the issues that he has drawn attention to in the past few years.
If we think about the Paris salon exhibition of the 19th century where the panel of judges used to shape art to what they thought it should be. And who were they to say what should and should not be considered art? Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur L’herbe (1862- 63, Musee d’Orsay) got refused from this and is now regarded as one of the most famous art works in the world with its influence seen through decades upon decades later. This is why street art is so important because it has no limitations. If someone wants to create like Manet or create like a five year old, they can. The best art has and always will be revolutionary because telling the truth has become subversive.
We are a species lost in many ways and we live in a society that will invest large amounts of money to guarantee that we stay lost. These investments mean that people are just left as passive consumers and not really asking questions but in recent times people are starting to ask questions and make a difference through protests or petitions. Could this have stemmed from street artists raising political questions and questioning how society is run? Who knows? However, they are informing and educating people by displaying art for every single person to see- high or low class, male or female, regardless of the colour of their skin, the country that they come from or whether they understand art or not. Countless street artists run risks through painting in the dark in the middle of the night alone just to make sure that their point is made. This is a lot harder than galleries where there is no risk; the work gets put up for you.
Street art is changing art. There are no rules; there are no judges to decide what is right or wrong. It is addressing new issues and concerns of the people with no voice or those afraid to have a voice. Many other art works in galleries or museums such as Picasso’s Guernica (1937, Madrid) have addressed issues of current affairs or events but the main reason that street artists, arguably, are highlighting these issues more is because they are not in museums or galleries. There is still this stigma attached to art that it is only for the elite, for the upper class who understand everything that happens in the paintings. This is a concern as ordinary people not studying art or art history don’t tend to visit museums or galleries for this reason because they feel like they will stand out and not understand what they are looking at. This is why street art is changing art as we know it; for its accessibility, it’s relatability and for its understanding. These city walls are becoming a blank canvas for the voices that can’t be heard.