artists, street art, world wide

what happens when people actually start paying attention?


tuesday oct, 19th. the TED conference announced the winner of their yearly award/grant of 100,000$. past winners include president clinton, jaime oliver, achem!….bono….

but for the 2011 year. the winner is parisian photographer and street artist JR. who’s large scale photo paste ups have caught the attention of, well, everyone really. and won him 100,000.  the stuff he does is not as “self serving”(term used lightly) as other artists. he pastes large scale photos of a local population to give certain parts of the world a face that the rest of us just see as buildings. the favelas of brazil, areas of keyna, he’s currently working in shanghai while historic  parts of the city are being torn down around him. he has used the large photos pasted on tops of slum housing to keep water from dripping into peoples homes. so ya, id say it’s a bit more humanitarian minded than directing the couch gag on the simpsons.

some examples.

beautiful right?

ok, stay with me here, i jump around a lot.

im supper thrilled that TED picked someone that is using street art to raise awareness of other country’s needs and issues. and just as thrilled that he is getting positive press. but seriously, what happens when people actually start paying attention? there is, as seen above, the positive side. but what about corporate sponsors? dozens of companys using graff/street art culture to sell you crap. banksy can make a movie, cool. but the simpsons? believe me, love the show. but he became the ass-end-joke of all his once relevant social commentary. clever as it was, trying to call out fox, ON FOX! old news.

and i know….before i get all worked up over banksy. its also the internet. and what i do on this site. putting stuff on facebook. blablabla. giving you access to something you once were only  able to see on the streets. are these things challenging the main beliefs of graff/street art?

or! is this a good thing? what are the extreme sides of this idea? i have some thoughts.

lets narrow it down to just chicago to make it easier.

side one. major recognition. mayor Daley is out and the new mayor (swiv?) takes a major cut back on the daley buff system. leaving the minimum needed to remove some gang graff. and funnels this money into the offices of chicago aldermen asking they use it to set up as many legal walls as possible. all while keeping anonymity and respect for the artists. hoping to make this city look a little more like it should, and show more of the eclectic side of chicago. now you have all these walls to paint, but submissions of ideas and examples of work are required for approval to paint on them. competition is bad for a community(i know, i play music in chicago). and there would most def be corporate involvement, ie, starbucks, coke, ect. but you would get payed to do what you love. and not put in jail.

side two. is really the exact opposite. harsher punishments for graffiti. heavier buff. discouragement to building owners to host legal walls. things like this will of course make a community stronger, there will be a need to work together to get more done. a common enemy and all that.  it will create a stronger and closer group of people. and harder working artists/writers. but at a cost.

and really, the most likely is(side three for those of you keeping count) . it all stays the same. people get up. people get busted. they stay hidden. or they move on to do work for company’s, get grants, or even awards. it all really depends on the artist. the way its viewed will change, via the web, museums, collectors. but what you are looking at wont. with a culture that operates outside the “law”, and conventional art-world rules. it’s free to evolve naturally and differently with every generation. never straying from original ideals.

this is also part of the “what if graff was legal?” discussion. but thats another post.

im just posing questions, ideas, thoughts. always feel free to chime in.


stay up.



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