Painting the town
We often tend to confuse Street Art and Graffiti, mainly because both of them take place on the streets and it’s arguable that they’re both motivated by the thrill of lawlessness.
Being the golden child in my family, this is a thrill I’m completely inexperienced in. However, try not to fill your heads with images of vandalised bus stops, tagged alleyways or young individuals whom my granddad always refers to as ‘those yoofs’. You know the ones, mysteriously hooded individuals on street corners with bum bags strapped around their shoulders and surprisingly colour coordinated track suits.
We’re thinking about art. The kind of art that has quickly become a cultural and global sensation. A handful of cities now boast entire districts dedicated to street art murals. One of my favourite examples of this comes from a very talented man called Ben Johnston, a self-taught letterer and illustrator from Cape Town, currently based in Toronto. Take a look at some of his mind blowing work below.
In more local examples, Birmingham invested £35,000 in 2016 on the ‘City of Colours’ festival. More than 8,500 people came together to marvel at the live street art being created by artists from all around the world.
Street art is important. Living in a world without art or colour would be horrible, so painting the cities with inspirational, cultural art is just the remedy we need for a happier life. It provides a sense of community, where places that might have been previously disadvantaged and forgotten about, have now been injected with the spray canisters of life. And because street art is public, it also provides a useful tool in communicating views of dissent, asking difficult questions and expressing various political concerns.
I’ve been working in the great city of Nottinghamshire for just shy of two months now and it’s great. The team we have here at Abstrakt are not only amazing at what they do, but they’re a joy to be around. We have doggo’s and a beer fridge; literally two key things I would take to the afterlife with me. There are nice little hipster coffee shops on every corner, and it just seems like Nottingham is a city so full of life. But what really makes the creative quarter stand out is its remarkably bright and creative street art, which I don’t think we appreciate enough. We’re all so used to following our daily routines that we lose sight of some of the fantastic art we pass on a daily basis. It’s literally art you can view for FREE.
Beautiful right? So I write this article as an open invitation, or a creative call to arms if you will. Get up from your desk, slip your walking shoes on and go and appreciate some free art. It’s probably right around the corner.
“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall - it's wet.”