If you have been following my blog, you'll probably realise that I have been documenting and collecting a series of photographs that emphasize the graffiti and street art in the cities I had travelled to as well as in my own hometown, Singapore. As a longtime lover in the graffiti and street art medium, I am always excited to discover what artists are doing around locally and around the world. There are tons of fantastic sites and daily blogs that are covering the continued evolution of the street art and graffiti medium, but there is nothing quite as good as seeing the real thing.
In recent years there has been an increasing interest in an ephemeral and viral form of art that is marking urban settings around the world, and has developed a flourishing sub-culture all its own. Now though, street art is going mainstream.
Into its second edition, on last Saturday Aliwal Urban Art Festival returned with an exciting showcase of Singapore's growing street art scene. Organised by Aliwal Arts Centre, the festival's location in Kampong Glam is apt - the district is named one of Singapore's coolest neighborhoods by international press, with its rich history and culture mixed with on-trend shops and cafes. The festival brought together some of Singapore's most exciting street artists from RSCLS, a local popular artist collectives that seeks discourse and disharmony through random acts of artistic collaboration that challenges artists out of their comfort zones.
我在上个周末星期六实拍阿里哇街文化艺术节 (Aliwal Urban Art Festival), 也同时亲眼目睹了街头艺术家们进行艺术创作。眼前一亮的创意街头艺术吸引了大量观赏者。活动现场包括街舞、街头涂鸦等街头文化，在一开始就为活动定下了酷炫又刺激的基调。据主办方介绍，这场大型涂鸦活动是阿里哇文化艺术节涂鸦主题活动。街头涂鸦表演迅速勾起现场大家的兴致和童心，你难以想象人们站在巨幅的涂鸦作品下一动不动地欣赏着的场景，这种街边艺术确实让一些不起眼的街区变成了供许多民众喜爱街边艺术欣赏的好地方。
There is as yet no simple definition of street art. It is an amorphous beast encompassing art which is found in or inspired by the urban environment. With anti-capitalist and rebellious undertones, it is a democratic form of popular public art probably best understood by seeing it in situ. It is not limited to the gallery nor easily collected or possessed by those who may turn art into a trophy.
Its definition and uses are changing: originally a tool to mark territorial boundaries of urban youth today it is even seen in some cases as a means of urban beautification and regeneration. Whether it is regarded as vandalism or public art, street art has caught the interest of the art world and its lovers of beauty.
Whether you think street art is fine art or one step above vandalism, there’s no denying the skills and creativity involved. The best street artists have an impressive ability to communicate their message in the grittiest of environments.
Here are some of the artists where you can see them work in action:
Spray-painting a funny face on the wall is by no means the road to street art eminence. Most of the popular street artists have bonafide artistic abilities. Their execution is spot on, multi-layered, witty in its content, beautifully composed, and the quick slight of hand to manifest imagery is nothing short of magical. To put it bluntly, street artists have mad skills.
感觉涂鸦 "cool" 的这个男孩子好带感，张扬的外貌，但涂鸦的时候格外认真，有一种艺术家的独特气质。
The works are site specific, the entire surrounding environment play a role in the composition of how the art functions. Graffiti and street art are a form of public art. Everyone has the same potential viewing opportunity, and creates a form of equal inspiration. Some works are outright blatant, but some of which are more subtle, clever and demand your keep eye for retention, and each time I experience new works in a different city, I’m energized.
There’s a strong relationship between the cultural activity of a city which street art is a part of, and its economy. When you see street art, it’s really a sign of many more interesting creative things going on. Cities that have more street art tend to be cultural and artistic hubs.
With the exception of "legal walls," where street artists are allowed to spray paint, the debate about graffiti and street art equating to vandalism, a controversy which will go on forever, but the fact of the matter is, its here to stay, and you can find it growing in every part of the world. Many people appreciate ‘street art’ such as larger, more artistic pieces, or murals placed in appropriate locations with the required permission.
The human need to express oneself in an action of immediacy, or in the event of planned longevity seems to be ongoing.
I found this whole set up of street art collective show to be invigorating, fresh, an act of kindness and revolutionary. If more galleries and established spaces could spare their walls for street artists then it would legitimize this movement and eradicate the stigma. What makes it vandalism is totally based on the laws in a country. If they were written differently, street art would be something else. Recognition can be a double-edged sword.
We need to put more sophisticated art work into spaces where people will really see these pieces. Give audience a chance. So what if they don't understand it? Eventually, if they see more, they learn. This is the same way the Europeans got more sophisticated. The art was there, in their faces and it became part of their lives. They grew into this culture of art and architecture and slowly developed this understanding.
There is this famous sticker that I’ve seen for sale in a museum and it declared: EARTH without ART is EH. Why fall to the milquetoast conventions of this world when you can strike out with color and unique flourishes? Can you honestly say you enjoy staring at blank walls all day? Can you endure a mundane and uneventful existence? Life is about moments with peaks and valleys that keep you on your toes. If everything remained the same and no change whatsoever, it will be a flat line, which is equivalent to being dead.
Street art is proof that some of the best pieces of art, at least contemporary art, are not locked inside museums. Instead, they are out in the open for everyone to enjoy. The strength of street art is its ability to captivate people as part of their day-to-day experience. Street art itself has developed and improved - most street art pieces are an amazing piece of art; many have stories to tell and a message to be heard.
So, next time if you pass by street art while traveling, think about what an artist might have been exploring, thinking, sharing to create a truly unique and personal travel moment to take home with you.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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