20 June 2016
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Art helps us view our life’s journey through the mirror of time; it acts as a reflection of the past, present and the unknown. Humans have always had a relationship with creativity. And the creative process is a profound link to the development of civilizations.
Urban art can be discovered in the most familiar and unfamiliar places. It is embedded in the popular culture, arising after art slid from museum walls and moved to the floor–inside and out. Then image makers found space on the outer walls of buildings, where blank canvases beckoned.
After visual art moved to the streets, the public’s response wavered, but today it continues to be a viable expressive platform. Still as the street art movement grows, it can be staggered by gentrification.
As city life blends the cultural, social and political, street art heals and provokes, revitalizes and soothes, connects and disconnects. Its additional dimension is a source of kinetic energy and vitality, and also a source of query about the place of visual art in everyday life.
Art collects time and distributes it. Each genre takes responsibility to add to the canon. Photography has documented city life since the nineteenth century, which makes the street photographer complicit (in a positive way) in the history of the urban landscape. Pedestrian life (events, the hustle and bustle of the sidewalks, performances…) offers a vast array of experiences and a rich bounty of treasures to discover and observe.
Graffiti and murals are the most prevalent forms of street art; each can be long-lasting or ephemeral or permanent. Their presence tells tales of the image maker’s view of society on a stage that brings art to the masses. They inspire and stir the viewer. Some artworks are front and center, while others play hide and seek.
Urban art’s popularity wavers. But as a genre in today’s contemporary art, it continues to be an agent of change for the artist and viewer. Each work either creates its own culture, or comments on it.
San Francisco is a prime cityscape for the artist who seeks outdoor canvases. Walls of alleyways and buildings are targets for street artists, and the muralists of this city are renowned for their skills and talents.
One of the difficulties and pleasures of studying murals in narrow area of alleyways is that their larger-than-life work is larger-than-life. It can be hard to sustain a perspective. BUT you do get to see the work up close, to see the personal vision of the individuals who create a visual dialogue with passengers and pedestrians.
In the Lens section are two examples of street murals. The first was found on my meanderings in the Mission District. In this section of San Francisco there are a few streets with alleyways that are noted for these giant cultural artifacts. The second image was seen driving through the Richmond area.
Street art provides a public forum for the examined and unexamined. The variety of subjects surprise, and that’s the joy and wonder of these artworks. This urban experience is a street event not to be missed.
Tip of the Week: There are several cities known for their street art. Examples include: New York City (United States), San Francisco (United States), Berlin (Germany), London (United Kingdom), Mexico City (Mexico), and Bristol (United Kingdom). One way to visit this genre is through books and film. When I discovered Cheryl Dunn’s documentary, “Everybody Street (2013),” on Netflix, I wanted to share it with you. Director Dunn introduces the audience to 13 street photographers from New York City. The film runs an hour and 25 minutes. It records imagery of noted photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Davidson, and Jamel Shabazz. It’s worth the perusal.
View other entries for this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.
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If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.