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Street Artists And Their Work Essay

1746 words - 7 pages

When using the words “street art” to describe someone’s work, you are generally stating that their art is displayed for the public eye to see, and could be used through graffiti, stickers, posters, sculptures, or even video projections. Street artists’ main focus is to reach out to the public presenting something with ample amount of meaning without restrictions from the formal art world. The anonymity of street art interests me because I find it more expressive than formal artwork. I see it as a way to get people’s attention in an altered condition and getting their point across (whether it requires thought or is obviously stated). Some major street artists that we will focus on are Blek le Rat, Banksy, and Dolk. All of these street artists are European based artists, but some occasionally travel to America to express their talent through graffiti. These mentioned visual artists are known for using stencil graffiti, which uses cardboard or other media cut into an image to make it easily reproducible.
One popular street artist Xavier Prou, better recognized as Blek le Rat, is known as the “Godfather” of politically-conscious graffiti (Philby). He is said to be the Godfather because this “56-year-old Frenchman was stenciling city walls while Banksy was getting to grips with crayons” (Philby). Blek le Rat has been embellishing the streets of Paris since the early eighties, while also being an influence on today’s graffiti art. After traveling to New York in the seventies, the cities graffiti encouraged him to create a rat stencil, but he wanted to make a more original style. In Paris of 1981, he started branding the city with his rat stencils, attempting to create a raid of rats throughout the city. Prou says himself, “My stencils are a present, introducing people to the world of art, loaded with a political message. This movement is the [democratization] of art: if the people cannot come to the gallery, we bring the gallery to the people!” (Philby). The exact reason why I enjoy viewing street is for this exact reason previously mentioned. Instead of having to go to galleries to view expensive artwork, it is simply given to the people, and it is literally priceless. Over time, Blek le Rat went from spray painting rats, to life-size portraits, to cartoon strips. I personally prefer his art of life-size portraits though because those seem to be a step up from the rats, but not as overbearing as the cartoon strips. Also, the portraits are more appealing to the eye than a rat. After 1991, Blek le Rat was threatened jail time if he were to get caught tagging the city again. Now he creates posters for sale. My outlook towards Blek le Rat is that he is an artistic genius. Taking something as simple as an overlooked rodent and making it into a work of art, it is brilliant! Another thing I enjoy about his art work is that it is in a form of rebellion. Being restrained by rules and procedures has always been something I was not a fan of, so when I see...

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