Forefront of Urban Art Culture

Cultural development is an integral characteristic of human development overall. People have always felt the need to express themselves and the most creative ones were quite successful in that expression. Nowadays, humanity is still evolving culturally, although contemporary art has its own peculiarities. The population of cities is growing quickly and people living there are influenced greatly by their urban surroundings. Thus, urban art forms have become the means of expressing human creativity nowadays.

Urban art deals with visual art objects created in public spaces of cities. Graffiti art, as a subdivision of urban art, has become truly popular among urban population. Graffiti artists inscribe words or draw on walls willing to send their personal message to people. Graffiti is thousands years old and the first graffiti paintings are found in very ancient caves. At that time people used bones and natural pigments to create them (Stowers 1996). They depicted animals, scenes from their wildlife and hunting rituals as well. Contemporary graffiti artists mostly use spray paint and create words, slogans, and images. However, the motives of ancient graffiti artists and modern ones are probably very different. The good news is that although we can only guess what ancient people were planning to communicate, modern artists’ intentions are much clearer due to the fact that they can explain them.

There are two major categories of graffiti artists depending on the motif they are being pushed forward by. Some of them use their works for communication with general public. The need for communication is most often provoked by cultural or social frustration they experience. Sometimes, graffiti paintings are used for marking territory when a group of people wants the society to know that certain territory ‘belongs’ to them. This type of graffiti is closest to vandalism, although all graffiti pieces, if made without consent of actual territory owner are considered illegal. The second category of graffiti artists creates their works out of need to express their individuality. Such works are usually more appealing to people as they have more unique and ingenious design.

Originally, modern graffiti appeared in New York City subway system in the 1960s as a way of self-affirmation. The social mood in the country at that time was pessimistic and there were many reasons for it. After the World War II, city population was primarily poor working class. People felt desperate to change something and did not want to be a fuel for burning to satisfy upper class needs. They wanted to express their individualities and be noticed. At that time a young man who chose the name ‘Julio 204’ started to write it in the subway. In some years, the tags with his name were all around New York. ‘Taki 183’ was another young man who did the same thing. People started to notice this phenomenon and soon graffiti art became so popular that authorities decided to intervene. They cleaned up spaces covered with graffiti paintings and prevented people from creating new ones.

At that time art elite got interested in …
Posted by: Mathilde Sisco

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