urban art

What is urban art?

urban art

Urban art is a kind of modern art. It is difficult to determine when the wall paintings first appeared, this fine art is one of the oldest. But despite this, the controversy about this activity, because many people believe that urban art is an act of vandalism. But is it so? Let’s dive deeper into the world of urban art and try to figure out what it really is.

What is urban art, and what is it?

Urban art in the English language means “urban art”. By this direction is meant:

  • Wall drawings;
  • Images in public places and on various objects;
  • urban installations;
  • Stickers;
  • Posters, etc.

Everything that is an urban style of fine art can be referred to this trend. There is a common misconception that graffiti is the only manifestation of urban -art. However, this is not the case. Graffiti is only one of the types of urban art, but not the only one.

History of urban art from its inception to the present day

It would be correct to note that urban art has existed since the emergence of Homo sapiens. At first, the creativity was manifested in the form of cave paintings. Later, already in civilized society (Ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc.), people began to express their thoughts by putting inscriptions on walls. These were advertising messages, declarations of love, the expression of political thoughts, etc.

Urban art as we’re used to seeing it today supposedly appeared during the Second World War. The first case is considered a viral inscription, “Kilroy was here”. It was applied by a certain Kilroy, who (supposedly) worked at a bomb factory in Detroit (USA). At first, the inscription appeared on all the boxes of bombs made at that plant. Then the phrase was supplemented with a drawing and further distributed by American soldiers.

The heyday of urban art in the 1960s came in Philadelphia. It is still considered a historic center of graffiti culture. In the 1970s, localization moved to New York City. It all started with a Manhattan neighborhood called Washington Heights. That’s when “tagging” was invented. That’s when the tradition of putting the urban number next to the nickname came about. The first person to do this was Julio 204. Among the graffiti artists of the time, a rivalry for recognition as the best broke out. This motivated writers to develop a new manner of performance – that’s how codes and styles of graffiti appeared.

Also, noteworthy is the fact that until 2012 no urban art museum had been created anywhere in the world; there were no departments that could present this style to the public. The first Urban Art Museum was opened in St. Petersburg. The main purpose of this museum is to provide information about urban art and graffiti. Also, the museum assists in the organization of modern projects and supports young artists. Representatives of the museum are trying to introduce a new approach to the development of creativity, using for this purpose the industrial objects that are far from the city center.

Types and techniques of urban art

The division into styles can be observed mainly among graffiti. There are the following techniques:

  • Writing – the process of applying graffiti without reference to the style. Includes absolutely all kinds of graffiti;
  • Bombing – fast drawing in extreme conditions;
  • Tagging – the signature of the artist, his nickname.
  • Besides the technique of application, there are also kinds of graffiti, which differ in style:
  • Bubble-letter – graphics using large letters and three-dimensional shapes that look like bubbles;
  • Throw-up – New York style, which involves the use of two colors and simple shapes;
  • Character – Character depiction in the style of a graffiti artist;
  • Wild style – one of the most common types, involving the application of complex drawings. Requires a high level of skill;
  • 3D-style – the image in the style of 3D, as well as optical illusions.

There is a huge variety of techniques for drawing and making installations. New directions regularly appear, artists try to find their own style and stand out from the crowd of other writers.

urban art

Famous representatives of the direction

In urban art, as in any other direction, there are well-known representatives:

Banksy – this artist is called the “gold standard” of contemporary art. His identity has never been revealed. Many of his works are included in the register of protected objects. Originally from Bristol, he works and exhibits all over the world;

Vhils is Alexandre Farto, originally from Portugal. He uses an electric drill in his technique. Collaborated with the legendary band U2;

Above (TavarZawacki) – started his activity in the USA, but later he moved to Berlin. Subjects of his works are the injustice of the modern system, as well as the poverty of certain segments of the population;

Roa – in his works he depicts animals, often exhausted, with their organs open to view. He tends to imitate the effect of X-rays in his works;

C215 is a French urban artist who travels the world and decorates the urban. His favorite subject is his own daughter, Nina, who can be seen in the images, either as a little girl or transformed into a young woman;

Jean Michel Basquiat is a now deceased artist who left a vivid mark on history. He began as a graffiti artist, at the height of his career realized many stencil projects in collaboration with Andy Warhol.

Contemporary urban art has many manifestations. Sometimes writers touch upon complicated themes. But, the work of the writers does not become less beautiful because of this. Now we can see how many works turn into the national treasure, and artists from all over the world realize their creative potential.

What is the purpose of urban art?

The purpose of urban art is to create a piece that can be appreciated by the public. It is to make art accessible to everyone, not just the elite.
Urban art is often created on the street, in public spaces and on abandoned buildings. It’s a form of artistic expression that has been around for centuries but has grown in popularity in recent years.

What is the difference between urban art and graffiti?

The difference between urban art and graffiti is that graffiti is illegal and a form of vandalism. Urban art, on the other hand, can be seen as a form of public art. It’s often created by artists who want to make their city more beautiful.
Urban art is often commissioned by the city council or local businesses to beautify the city. It can also be created by artists who want to make a statement about society or politics.

What is the history of urban art?

Urban art is a form of street art that emerged in the early 20th century. The first known use of the term was in 1973 by New York graffiti artist Lady Pink. The term was widely adopted after it was popularized by British street artist Banksy.
The first known use of the term “urban art” was in 1973 by New York graffiti artist Lady Pink. The term was popularized and widely adopted after it was used again by British graffiti artist Banksy in 2002 at an exhibition called “Turf War”.
The history of urban art is as old as the history of urbanization. It has been around since people started to paint on walls, but its origins can be traced back to 20th-century America with artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock.

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