Banksy is respected in the art scene

Street Art. Public space as a medium

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Introduction

3. Street Art - What is it?
3.1 Historical roots
3.2 Concept and definition of street art
3.3 Imagery - the difference to graffiti
3.4 Impermanence
3.5 The attraction of the forbidden - Trespass
3.6 Discourse space - the city as a work space
3.7 Influences

4. Variations of Street Art
4.1 Chalk drawings
4.2 Décollage
4.3 Posters or paste-ups
4.4 Direct paint application
4.5 roll-ons
4.6 Murals
4.7 cut-outs
4.8 Paper cuts
4.9 Stencils
4.10 Stickers
4.11 tiles
4.12 panels
4.13 installations
4.14 3D
4.15 Miscellaneous

5. Street Art - Illegal versus Legal

6. Street Art - Vandalism or Art?

7. Consumption and Commerce / Art and Commerce

8. Two representatives of the scene
8.1 JR
8.2 Banksy - the man without a face

9. Practical part

10. Conclusion

11. Bibliography and sources

1 Introduction

A high school diploma thesis in the subject of artistic design was certain for various reasons relatively early on. Especially since this subject would enable me to combine the required written part with an artistic, practical part on the chosen topic and thus to deepen mainly the book about the street artist Banksythat my brother brought from New York in 2009 and his documentary Exit through the gift shop (2010) as well as the very well researched and beautifully designed article in the art magazine a rt on the subject of street art and the artist JR had aroused my interest around 3 years ago and thus reinforced my desire to deal more intensively with this topic - with the art of my generation.

At a dinner last winter and a discussion on the subject of high school diploma theses, including mine, acquaintances then encouraged me to choose the topic of street art.

At this point I would like to thank the following people for their support, without whom it would not be possible to present my work in this form: I would particularly like to thank my supervisor, Katrin Furler, who showed me the way with commitment, but also always had enough freedom for mine ideas and development offered. Furthermore, my special thanks go to Alexander Höfer and Luca Höfer, who have decisively influenced my choice of topics and have accompanied me with creative contributions over the past year and also given me a street art tour in Shoreditch, London. Of course, I would also like to thank my family warmly; she has always actively supported and motivated me during the entire work process, especially in the practical part.

Zurich, November 20, 2014 Justine Wachtl͒

2 Introduction

The term street art includes a very large space for interpretation and imagination. Street art is an extremely multifaceted art form that is constantly evolving and, to a certain extent, reinventing itself.

Important aspects of this art are that it is not only understandable for everyone - young and old, educated and uneducated - but also that it is accessible to everyone.

Street Art, as the name suggests, takes place on the street; thus the public space is the medium. This can also have disadvantages, but at the same time it makes this art all the more attractive. Another attribute of street art is the transience of their works.

Because street art is so rich in variations, the present work, after taking a look at the historical development, introduces and delimits the currently most important techniques. Furthermore, two famous and completely different street art actors - Banksy and JR - will be presented, which in turn should illustrate the diversity of this art direction.

In the chapters Legal vs. Illegal as well as Art and Commerce, aspects such as anti-consumer principles and Street cred or the use or the associated problems of typical street art products in commercial marketing.

This work is concluded with the practical part - an insight and a description of the finding and work process of the 3 plants in stencil technology - as well as a personal conclusion.

3. Street Art - What is it?

The public needs art, and it is the responsibility of a ’self-proclaimed artist’ to realize the public needs art, and not to make bourgeois art for the few and ignore the masses. … I am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached. The viewer creates the reality, the meaning, the conception of the piece. I am merely a middleman trying to bring ideas together.1

Street art is to a certain extent the further development of the graffiti. It refers to "... artistic objects that are placed in public spaces “. …2. There are illegal, sometimes massive and creative, artistic interventions in the public. Often it is about motifs that are made with the help of stencils and spray cans, plastered walls, pasted traffic lights or street signs, painted chewing gum that has been thrown away by pedestrians and flattened or small mosaic figures that are on house walls were attached . The creative variations of street art are huge, there are countless techniques and possibilities; so an almost limitless art form.

In recent years, the environment has changed Urban art, as street art is also called, enormously enlarged. This art form can be found in all metropolises today - whether New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles or Tokyo. But the street art cult has also found its place in smaller cities such as Bristol, Ljubljana or Dortmund. So far it has been a rather western phenomenon, but it will certainly soon conquer other areas. Street Art can therefore be described as a “translocal phenomenon”.

3.1 Historical roots

The exact time that Street Art was created cannot be clearly dated. On the one hand, this “new” art has evolved and developed in various cities around the world and, on the other hand, street art takes its influences from different sources and cultural-historical developments. " In literature, various art genres are seen as pioneers and sources of influence. From the Situationists to Dadaism to comics, the punk movement and American graffiti.“3

Already in the city Pompeii, which went under as early as 79 AD, is a lively graffiti culture that provide information about every life situation of the people of the Roman Empire.

Street art can be described as the daughter of graffiti. Graffiti was already being made in the USA in the 1930s, often by so-called gangs. The culmination of this Passage graffiti started in the 1970s and ebbed in the 1990s. These are mainly so-called Taggs. These tags are basically just the names of the manufacturers. The main motivation is to use your name in the neighborhood as often as possible

place in order to achieve a certain position in the scene. The rule was: quantity over quality. These points swapped places after a certain time, because only tags were not enough to secure power. This ultimately resulted in a much more elaborately designed, often very colorfully sprayed typeface, the Piece.

The graffiti culture in the European cultural area initially developed completely independently of the writing culture in the USA. Thus, completely different forms of expression emerged. In contrast to American graffiti, the basic element of the graffiti composition was not the lettering or a name, but pictorial elements.

The metropolis of Paris was particularly innovative here. The French G é rard zlotycamias is credited with being the first artist ever to be artistically active in public space. First with chalk or brush, later also with spray paint, he painted stick figures for the first time in 1963 É ph é m è res (the ephemeral / threatened with imminent disappearance) on walls and walls in Paris.4

Blek le advice has also been distributing his stencil graffiti on various walls in Paris since the early 1980s, after he - according to his own statement - had to admit that the American writing technique was not for him.

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Blek le Rat, Man and Girl, Paris / F, 1992

Spraying since 1977 Harald Naegeli, the sprayer of Zurich, his stick figures on countless walls in various large cities. " It was a protest against the inhospitable cities, the architecture r ”, says the now 74-year-old artist.5 At that time, however, his stick figures, which are pulled out of the hand with elegant swing, were more like graffiti than art. Because of his graffiti, Naegeli was sentenced to nine months in prison and a fine in 1981 in Zurich. He had to serve this sentence in 1984 after he fled to Germany and an international arrest warrant was issued against him. Today he is a recognized artist and one of the founders of street art. In the meantime, his works, which have a pronounced recognition effect, have been considered worthy of protection by the city of Zurich.

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H. Naegeli, Zurich, 1978

In 1980 the first chalk drawings of Keith Haring on the New York subway. Although he died in 1990, the former has a strong influence on the scene to this day.

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Keith Haring, New York / USA, 1983

1989 creates Shepard Fairay in Los Angeles the entry into the scene with his visual Obey. He combines the lettering Obey, which means something like list, listen to me or Watch out, with the striking portrait of Andre the Giant (Andr é Ren é Roussimoff 1946 - 1993), a professional French Westerner and actor6. With stickers, posters and stencils, this motif is always new and placed in countless places. The noticeable increase is similar to an advertising campaign. In any case, Shepard Fairy succeeds in establishing the Obey brand. At the end of the 1990s, in New York, he began to paint larger-than-life figures and to glue his cut-out figures.

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Shepard Fairay, Miami / USA, 2012

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Fairay in front of Obama election poster, 2008

Begins at the same time as Fairay, the most famous street artist today, Banksy to spray and glue his works.

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Banksy, Boston / USA, 2010

Street art is becoming increasingly popular. This is particularly noticeable in metropolises such as Berlin and London. At the turn of the millennium there was a real boom in street art. Every day, more and more actors put new works on street walls. It can be argued that this inflation, the flood of tags and pieces in the cities, has given street art attention and has thus continued to develop. When everything in the city is designed in a similar way, even the illegal graffiti, suddenly a stencil, a simple chalk man, becomes a visual sensation.

It can thus be stated that the concept of illegal, creative and artistic intervention in urban space is a cultural technique that was adopted from graffiti. The actors and techniques can be found in street art. But there are also artists who have entered the street art scene directly, without a background from the graffiti scene.

3.2 Concept and definition of street art

A uniform definition of this art form does not really exist and probably never will. There are several terms for the phenomenon itself, such as Urban art or Post graffiti. The term has been around since 2004 Street Ar t the most used for this art scene, established by the media to give a name to the whole movement.

Heinicke and Krause (2010) write in their book Street Art - The city as a playground:

What (...) under street art or street art includes all visual forms of expression of “unofficial” occupation by signs and codes on the surfaces of urban space (with the exception of “classic” graffiti.)“

The internet blog German street art includes much more in this term, namely all art forms, from dance to painting, that are performed in public, i.e. on the street, in other words - art in public space: " Street / urban art is any art developed in public spaces. The term can include graffiti artwork, stencils, sticker art, and street installations.

It becomes clear that street art is understood, interpreted and defined very differently as a term and in its meaning. In summary, I think it is right to rely on a definition that does not restrict street art in its type and method, but leaves open the extent to which one can be artistically active in public space.

Defined in 2007 Jan Gabbert in his master's thesis Street Art very precisely:

Street art is illegal, artistic intervention in urban space. It is directed against the city's hegemonic codes and addresses a public audience - sometimes in a subtle and provocative dialog

He also sums up the characteristics of street art briefly and succinctly for his definition:

1. Street art is mainly characters, signs and symbols whose visual ine is illustrative, flexible and recognizable imagery.
2. Street Art plays with the urban space, the location, the surroundings and what is already there.
3. Street Art is produced autonomously on one's own initiative, is not commercial and is self-financed.
4. Street Art authorizes itself. When interfering with the public space, permission is not asked.
5. Street Art is accessible free of charge and can be found outside of established art education locations.
6. Street art is a global phenomenon.

3.3 Imagery - the difference to graffiti

Street art is more about interacting with the audience on the street and the people, the masses. Graffiti isn't so much about connecting with the masses: it's about connecting with different crews, it's an international language, it's a secret language. Most graffiti you can't even read, so it's really contained within a culture that understands it and does it. Street art is much more open, It's an open society.”- Faile7

Graffiti is a code. Graffiti isn't easy to decipher unless you're in the world of the artists. The whole point of doing graffiti is to encode your name in a very unique style that not many people can decipher. So that polarises people. You either understand graffiti and you're like, 'That's fucking awesome', or you're like, 'I don't get it'. The people that don't get it aren't necessarily not interested, they just can't decipher what graffiti is about. Street art doesn't have any of that hidden code; there are no hidden messages; you either connect with it or you don't. There's no mystery there. - The Wooster Collective8

An important difference between street art and graffiti is the intention, thinks Kai Jacob, Author of the book Street Art in Berlin. „ The street artists want to express their opinion and communicate with the people of the city. Graffiti, on the other hand, is used primarily to mark the territory.

Unlike most graffiti, street art is now accepted as art by a large part of our society, which is why it has already become partly commercial, which is actually a contradiction in terms.

For several years now, the positive image of street art has even been used for guerrilla marketing. But despite galleries and trendy advertising campaigns: only artists are taken seriously in the scene who, in addition to their work in the studio, continue to work on house walls.

The art has to get out - on the house walls “Says Emess and thus expresses the old left motto: Reclaim the Streets. Characters play a central role in street art and serve as a strong criterion for difference. There are also characters in graffiti, but the letters play the central role. The difference between street art and graffiti is the transition from letters to characters. From lettering or pictorial lettering to the picture. The characters of Urban Art function as such completely independently on the wall surface. They have formed into a new world that tells a story that is completely free to read and interpret. The image of street art therefore shows a clearer legibility than that Hieroglyphics of graffiti, as the visual codes of the graffitis can hardly be read outside the scene. Street art, on the other hand, is readable for everyone and opens up space for interpretation. In addition, the urban art form is based on a much greater variability in terms of design. A motif can always remain the same in its origin and be recognizable, but at the same time it can be adapted to the different contexts and take on different shapes.

Brief overview of the different characteristics of street art and graffiti writing:

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3.4 Impermanence

You could say that street art is a thing of the past. This art, which is actually the art of our time, i.e. the present is already behind. Street art is not an art that will last forever. The half-life of street art in public spaces is extremely short. A work can quickly be partially or completely removed, changed, pasted over or even stolen from collections. In addition, the works are exposed to weathering. If a work was able to hold its own against human impact, there is still the risk of being destroyed by wind and weather.

The scene itself actually has little objection to this impermanence, on the contrary, it plays an important role. The transience is downright attractive and an aspect of central importance. The actor Boxi to: “It is much more worthwhile to give the public something fragile for free, to expose it to them and at some point to weather it than to do work that slowly dries up until someone restores it one day.9 Impermanence is accepted for presence on the street. Gould means: “Impermanence is one of the essential qualities of street art. You can't rest on the street, it changes so much. That also encourages you to keep going. "10

Impermanence can also be a motivation for one's own work. The unbelievable speed of innovation in this scene is rooted in the “fast” reality. The necessity of always doing new things in order to remain present in the street scene gives en passant the opportunity to try out new things every day. Every idea has the chance to be immediately tested and implemented in practice.

“Every street art work has been put on the spot by the artist himself. If anything, street art is confusing the art world.It appears more tangible, its producers closer and, because it is tailored to a location that is shared with others, more concrete. Through special acquisition of knowledge, street art producers become space experts and are constantly looking for perspectives in the space around them. As a result, the works also experience a professionalization with regard to the materials and substrates used and the broader reception. Street artists experience an expanded scope of action, as they do not passively circulate in public space, but look at the city around them from the point of view of intervening and changing. "11

Street art develops together with the city, which is subject to constant change due to the lively flow of its residents and visitors.

3.5 The attraction of the forbidden - Trespass

Human society is a structure enclosed by the setting of boundaries. A society that strives for rules and orders in its environment. Of course, we also expect artists to respect those limits in order to keep the entropy of our world in check. But we are also ready to offer the artists a little more freedom and to allow them, even if only unofficially, to break the rules of the game, as this is the only way creativity can develop.

The act of crossing borders, des go a step too far also known as unauthorized entry plays a central role in the urban art scene. In English, this stands for the word trespass; it can be derived from the Latin prefix trans - beyond - and passus - step. It originally meant transgression, offense, and sin, as its frequency in the Bible shows us. In the 15th century, trespass also took on the meaning of unauthorized entry. It was then that the Scottish Parliament first used this expression for its forest laws. In this respect, trespassing still includes the old, almost erotic closeness to sin, which begins where the violation of laws, i.e. the moral issue becomes a legal issue.

The disapproval of unauthorized trespassing on foreign land is primarily of a legal nature, but all too often the debates also smack of moral excitement. Trespassing has such a reputation for being destructive and corrupt that not only the wrongdoers are accused of misconduct, but also those who tolerate it.

But it is in the nature of the taboo, the forbidden, that for certain people a sign like DO NOT ENTER exerts a strong pull. If entry is illegal, the incentive to stay there can be all the greater. Often the rebellious spirit of an individual is not born until he is confronted with prohibitions. The forbidden triggers a stimulus, a need that is only satisfied when the limit has been exceeded.

“Street Art is based on the one hand on the newer graffiti tradition and on the other hand on the esoteric tradition of modernity to question the status quo. It turns the urban experience that has become the norm on its head.12 In summary, every type of urban art begins with the charm of the forbidden, which is inherent in every “trespassing prohibited” sign; graffiti, in its original form, is nothing more than protest and expression of resistance against commanders. Urban art is more than willful destruction, vandalism and attacks on the property of others, it is not destructive, but productive: dilapidated, neglected walls invite sprayers to change them - to design them individually with color and their own signature - in short: to acquire them.

A basic idea about street art and trespassig: Graffiti and similar aesthetic interventions are all expressions of resistance against authorities. Every unauthorized or public gesture, be it activism or avant-garde, destruction, graffiti or great art - is to be understood primarily as a contribution. It is always aimed at an audience, even the coded, often unidentifiable graffiti, although it seems that this is sometimes only addressed to actors from the same subculture. Communication is as indispensable to the human being as leaving signs. The most original representation of these two impulses is preserved in our oldest cultural heritage, cave painting

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Hillsdale Mall,

S. Mateo, CA / USA, 1994


1 Haring, Keith, Journal entry, Jan. October 1978

2 Wilms, Claudia, Sprayer in the White Cube, Street Art between everyday culture and commercial art, Tectum Verlag, Marburg, 2010, p.13

3 (5.9.2014)

4 (5.9.2014)

5 (5.9.2014)

6é_the_Giant (5.9.2014)

7 Cedar Lewisohn, Street Art - The Graffiti Revoultion, Tate Publishing, London, 2008, p. 15th

8 Cedar Lewisohn, Street Art - The Graffiti Revoultion, Tate Publishing, London, 2008 p. 63

9 "We ain't going out like that" - Boxi in: D. Krause and C. Heinecke, Street Art - The city as a playground, archiv Verlag, Braunschweig, 2010, p.66

10 GOULD. In: D. Krause and C. Heinecke, Street Art - Die Stadt als Spielplatz, archiv Verlag, Braunschweig, 2010, p. 60

11 Wilms, Claudia, Sprayer in the White Cube, Street Art between everyday culture and commercial art, Tectum, Marburg, 2010, pp. 50-51

12 E. Seno, C. McCormick, M. & S. Schiller, Wooster Collective / Trespass - The History of Urban Art / Bags, Cologne, 2010 / p. 16 --schiller - seno-trespass-the-history-of-urban-art.html (29.9.2014)

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