Street artists have a unique eye for taking things that most of us walk past, or regard as ugly or broken, and making them into something very different. Funny, surreal, thought-provoking and sometimes just beautiful, there is a tremendous variety of street art out there around the world.
It can provoke passionate discussion, with some dismissing it as merely an excuse for graffiti. Somehow, though, I think it is more than that, saying something about the urban areas in which we live, and giving value back to things that have lost their value and (sometimes purpose) through decay, damage and vandalism.
One of my favourites is OakoAk, described on his own website as a “French artist who likes to play with urban elements”. His work is simpler than some, often eschewing perspective illusions and instead going for the comic, occasionally tugging a heart-string.
Here’s a selection of some of his most recent, courtesy of Bored Panda:
I’ve mentioned my love of illusions before.
One of the things that has captivated me since I first stumbled across it online is that genre of art where artists compose 3D illusions on pavements, usually out of chalk. There is something genuinely fascinating about the way the brain tricks the eye and some of the pictures are simply genius.
A number of those below are by the Belgium-based British artist Julian Beever, whose work has become world-renowned. According to his own website, he has been creating street art like this for over twenty years. However, it’s only in the age of the Internet, that people have been able to showcase work that is often ephemeral, washed away with the next big downpour.
The YouTube clip, below the gallery, shows the construction and reaction to a piece of work created in the centre of Stolkholm by Erik Johansson, a Swedish artist. His giant artwork was covered by various newspapers around the world, including Metro.
For all its beauty, street art remains controversial, being regarded by many as graffiti. I enjoy the anarchic beauty of it, however, and its potential for breaking up the grey angularity of so many of our modern urban spaces.
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