The Germans have a saying - ist das Kunst oder kann das weg? (is that art or can I throw it away?). Take the Tate Modern. I once saw a room being prepared for an art collection, strewn with sellotape and beams, in which people looked at, pondered over, thinking it was art, much to the amusement of the security guard. Knowing this, perhaps it's safe to say, art is whatever the fuck you want it to be. Why lick the ass of an art gallery when you can scribble on a wall and stick it to the man? Unless you're able to flog a toilet, of course.
Graffiti can be seen as tags, street-art as murals, and graffiti street-art as tag murals, something bordering both styles.
Modern day graffiti arguably became a counter culture movement. It wasn't for the money. It was about respect. Illegality gave it a rough edge, often seen as gang related, but remove the negative connotations from the word gang, and you’re left with community. A very human need we're often devoid of.
Street-art is perhaps more commercial, and like with most commercial things, it divides opinions. If it's no longer illegal when commissioned, does it earn the same respect? Then there's Banksy with their golden fingers. As such, whilst commercialisation may tarnish the scene and original intent, when it’s done with love, it’s clearly beautiful. I think this video conveys that intention well.
Where there's paint on the walls, there's soul in the people. Creativity is to be expressed. Cavemen made the first graffiti, so perhaps it's expected to continue this somewhat natural urge to scribble on walls. A way of sharing love and deep insights, expressing oneself in the environment. It connects us and creates a sense of belonging. It brings awe, colour and disorder to the straight edges of our society. Why read Nietzsche when you have the toilet door?
Below is a collection of street-art taken from around the world on my phone camera. I used to use them for cover art. Perhaps that's controversial, but in combining both street-art and music, it expressed something true and deep inside of myself. Where possible, I stated where the street-art was found, and kept the music free to download on Bandcamp. Nowadays, especially concerning commercial releases that can't be made free on Bandcamp (like with a label), I aim to commission a piece. You can see a list of commissions here.
I think using street-art in this way highlights some interesting topics regarding copyright, art, money and intention. Nonetheless, whenever I encounter a new city, I aim to find new and exciting street-art to inspire the music I write.
If I photoed your art and used it, and you'd like to talk about it, please get in touch. In general, I'd love to know who you are to say thank you, as it's not always clear from the pictures I took.