Wake Up Call – Graffiti World
In a land as rich with art and literature as Mother Russia, and in a political environment that goes out of its way to suppress free speech, it is no surprise that the dark intensity of the Russian people flourishes on the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow in the form of graffiti.
New York, USA
Keith Haring embodied the intensity of urban life during the AIDS crisis, moving from subway cars in NYC to elite SoHo galleries in less than a decade. He gave a deceptively simple style to Manhattan’s tragic go-go atmosphere. His premature death was a grim exclamation point that gave his endearingly human characters poignancy that can still be felt.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Street art takes on the weight of intense religious and political conflict in Belfast. Elaborate memorials, as well as images of war and religious iconography fill entire walls throughout the rolling hills of Ireland. Seen as both an expression of fidelity to one’s cause and as an escape route from the daily grind of a once intractable conflict, the haunting images are a grim reminder of the toll of war.
The infamous street artist Banksy has been causing a stir in the street art world since the 1980s. His whimsical and thought provoking style relies heavily on a distinctive stenciling technique. In recent years Banksy has made the difficult jump from anonymous street artist to enigmatic international art sensation. Attempts to capitalize on his very public form of art, however, remain difficult.
Japanese art often seems like a surreal explosion of borrowed culture, and their graffiti explosion in the 1990s borrowed its vibe from the hip-hop generation, filtered through a punk aesthetic. Ancient mythology meets cutting edge futurism in the form of the animated style of manga and the appropriation of other-worldly symbols of the past, all incorporated into a hyper-modern comic book environment.
New York, USA
Marc Ecko is a one-man conglomerate who owns an array of street-culture based clothing lines and magazines that promote a street-level aesthetic born out of a deep appreciation for the graffiti culture of the 1980s. Ecko’s enterprise pulls in almost a billion dollars a year, and he uses that fiscal clout to fight for causes dear to him, such as saving the rhinoceros and promoting free speech in the form of street art. In 2005, he sponsored a massive public art show involving famous NYC graffiti artists, and in 2006, he spearheaded and won a court case that overturned a NYC anti-graffiti law.
Graphic Design by Andrew J Newman