Wall in Civitavecchia, Italy by Barcelona artist Aryz
A seamstress stands at the entrance of her workshop decorated by Spanish artist Malakkai
Photograph Mohamed Messara-EPA
Art on the streets
The painting of murals on walls is one of the oldest art forms known and its rich history extends to the ancient Minoans and Etruscans who were one of the earliest practitioners of this large scale art, fortunately preserved by the temperate Mediterranean climate. Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, Greece and India refined the use of frescoes, mosaics and reliefs to more sophisticated levels with their celebratory, ceremonial murals and the recording of important events filled with decorative detail.
Mural art in Mexico evolved from the Olmec civilization in the pre Hispanic period through to the colonial period, where the motive wasn’t purely for aesthetic reasons but used to express social ideals and depict daily life. During the Mexican Revolution mural art grew further as a medium for public and political expression. They were used as a means to spread the ideals of the revolution to the largely illiterate Mexican population. Muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera all received commissions to create works that would help to educate the masses.
Todays street art has evolved to be on a monumental scale comparable to mural arts of the past and now rates as one of the key evolutions of art across the 20th century. It has grown from the early edgy graffiti art and use of tagging stencils to become a modern global art phenomena, especially with the participation levels and the revitalisation of drab urban landscapes. The initial illegality of the medium added an urgency and spontaneity to the urban street art aesthetic and pushed the discovery of new techniques and materials. With the gradual acceptance of this public art came a move away from the ephemeral nature of the street art to more elaborate and ambitious projects. Art influences such as trompe l’oeil, impressionist, classical, abstract and ancient mythology became integrated into the street arts vernacular as the skill sets expanded. Techniques such as handpainted pasteups, collage, photo-realistic portraits, photo paste ups, multi layered stencils, complex themes were added to the creative armory of the street artist to elevate the medium to a new levels. This Renaissance of the wall arts also filtered through to being popular in interior designs for the home and the interiors of Public Buildings.
Some of the artists that developed their talent in the street have expanded into studios and become more commercial, even using fine art galleries for exhibitions. Others, that already had an artistic background, like graphic arts, have increased their recognition through their pursuit of street art. The adaption and spatial innovation demanded by street art has helped their flexibility as an individual artist. The early clandestine activities, mainly at night, bred an edgy spirit into the art. Combined with the need for mercurial speed in their street art and preference for the use of aerosols, efficiency of strokes and spontaneous application ensued, leading to a spirit of freestyle innovation, that still permeates the street art today.
Most street artists are self taught, being drawn to the street medium for its immediacy, allure of expressing individuality and having the freedom to exploit the broad availability of walls and buildings for their street canvas. Although numerous street artists have found fame, others still choose to shun the appeal of the commercial art machine. It’s been fascinating seeing the depth of themes being explored – love, suffering, aggression, irreverence, temptation, fear, angels, alienation, demonic creatures, mischievous characters, religion, death and humor supporting a diverse street art language. This vibrant culture of artists are still exploring the possibilities for developing this arresting street commentary and lets hope they have an endless supply of walls for sustaining this impressive journey.
Mural at Szpitalna 6, Warsaw, Poland
30ft high Burmese Monk by Shepard Fairey
Alexandros Vasmoulakis, Athens, Greece
Snake mural – Sokram
DESORDES CREATIVAS, Ordes Galiza Spain – 2012
Art Mural by Linz in Sydney, Australia
Brazilian artist Claudio Ethos
Portuguese artist Vhils’ creates powerful portraits using subtraction rather than addition by etching, tearing or acid-burning the surface, to add depth to the image.
Paris artist Vinnie Graffiti
A Tunisian woman walks past a mural by Spanish artist Btoy as part of the street art project ‘Djerbahood’ in the village of Erriadh on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, August 2014.
‘Karditsa’ – Monumental wall art by Alexandros Vasmoulakis
‘Sacred Waters’ – La LLorona
Acrylic mural on stucco, 30’ x 60’
24th and York Streets, San Francisco Mission District by marifrancille – flickr
Sao Paulo – World Cup protest mural
Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Phantasmagoric animal by Puerto Rican Alexis Diaz in Bratislava, Slovakia
World Cup protest art by Brazilian artist Cranio depicting a man flushing money down a toilet bowl.
Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Aryz – Palazzo Nuovo, Corso San Maurizio, Turin
Aryz monumental mural – Granollers, Catalunya, Barcelona
Aryz monumental mural – Granollers,Catalunya, Barcelona
Vinnie Graffiti, Paris
‘Compass’ mosaic mural by Fabrice seen here wearing his mural inspired coat, Amsterdam
Buenos Aires Argentinian street artist
Corey Helford Gallery, California
Sidewalk Chalk 3D Art – Kurt Wenner
Cairo street mural, 2012
Claudio Ethos paints surreal scenes with monochromatic characters, often with photo-realistic faces
‘The Scream Of Vallicaldi’ by Italian street artist Mr Thoms
Agrigento Via Vallicaldi Sicily, Italy
Epic Hindu mural in India
‘Con las Alas del Alma’ ( With The Wings Of The Soul )… by Monica “la” Lopez
Romantic stencilled portrait by Frenchman C215
Mural by Seth – Fleury Les Aubrais, France.
Printed pasteup by Gaia
Georgina Ciotti art mural, Buenos Aires
‘Pineapple Express’ with Rodez and Malegria from Bogota, Colombia
Handpainted pasteup by French artist Zilda
Black on white wall art by Herakut
Detailed alien head wall art – Herbert Baglione, Brazil
‘Hollywood Goddess’ mural by the MAC—–Motion Pictures Arts Building
5504 Hollywood Blvd & Western Ave
Hyuro & Escif street art
Interesni / Kazki – Ukrainian duo (AEC & Waone)
French street artist JR
Two boys with traditional masks holding a Bocachico, a freshwater fish common in Colombia – Colombian street artist Nice Naranja
La Boca , Buenos Aires
Outdoor Stan Laurel mural by Gnasher Murals located behind Siths Tattoo shop at 7 Heigham street, Norwich.
Melbourne laneway mural – Herakut
‘3 Headed Lernaean Hydra’ (holding tri headed toothbrush) – Lean Frizzera & Spok
‘Let’s straighten it out’ — acrylic,fabric,rhinestone on wall – Alexandros Vasmoulakis
Street artist Liqen, Spain
Door mural of Mermaid on a swing. Portuguese Rua de Santa Maria street in Funchal, Madeira
Paul Delvaux painting mermaids on the walls of the house of his friend Georges Grard in 1949
Phlegm , UK
Robot mural of street art artist Pixel Pancho, Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia,
Picturin at Palazzo Nuovo
Picturin mural by Artefatti + Il Cerchio e Le Gocce + Style Orange (Palazzo Nuovo).
Alexandros Vasmoulakis, Berlin, Gerrmany
Epic mural featuring six enormous African animals – Roa
Rojo Roma Mural in Mar Del Plata, Argentina
Chilean street artist Teo Doro mural in Valparaíso, Santiago
Puerto Rica Santurce Es Ley festival – ‘De Los Más’ by Jason Velez
Abandoned building mural – Sly2 – Paris
‘Jazz in free time’ by Sepe, Poland, 2010
Geisha mural (on a rusty ship wreck) by Fin DAC in North Wales
David Walker mural in Lorraine, France.
Photo by Thierry Vilmus
Fin DAC – refined art on a non accommodating canvas
Pixel Pancho, San Juan, Puerto Rico
‘No land for the Poor’ by WD
‘Pronkstilleven’ by Gaia with Opositive Festival
The conference at the Cairo Opera House in Cairo, Egypt. will present & discuss examples and tendencies in dealing with urban identities as well as the transformation of cities and urban culture. – see more here