1) The topic background: Street art, also known as “post graffiti,” is a hybrid form of old school vandalism. Graffiti is known for its typical style of handheld aerosol spray paint tagging, whereas street art goes beyond the boundaries and becomes more expressive and experimental. Common forms of street art include stenciling, stickers, large scale posters adhered by wheat paste, or hand painted images. The street art lifestyle is an underground world of law breaking artists, expressing a notion, an opinion or just displaying their own name in an environment that the public can interact with. Although, some modern day street artists have gained massive amounts of popularity and are finding their ways into galleries and museums.
2) My working thesis: Street art and graffiti are environmentally based types of art. This art is only as effective when it is placed in a specific environment, because it’s intention is to work with the environment as a whole. The act of creating graffiti and street art is sometimes just the message within itself; breaking the law, reaching obscene heights or even just displaying something so controversial. Removing graffiti and street art from it’s environment and placing it in an art gallery is wrong.
3) Counterintuitive note: Someone caught creating street art, doing graffiti or tagging public or private property can be charged with vandalism, malicious mischief, trespassing, etc. These artists knowingly go up against the law to display their art for the public to see (whether it be for the intention of publicity or commentary.) This form of art is extremely individualized, dangerous and expressive. Recreating graffiti or street art to be displayed and (or) sold in a gallery setting is contradictory of the intent that the art naturally holds.
4) Topics for smaller papers:
Sometimes a street artist that originates from the streets and becomes big is considered a “sell-out.” Shepard Fairey, an extremely well-known street artist and clothing line designer is now considered “big time,” because he went further than just restricting his art to the streets and sells stickers in corporate clothing stores for people to buy and spread the word of his brand. Fairey transformed from a small artist to a celebrity.
Although to any anti-establishment artist, entering the world of gallery art could be considered “selling out,” it is extremely beneficial for the artist. Even though the work is visible to anyone in the streets, going into galleries will earn the artist even more fans. Going bigger is good for the artists name and earning money for materials to create more work.
5) Current state of the research paper: My research has been interesting thus far, because people seem to be indifferent as to whether or not street art should remain in the streets. Also, the artists are unsure as well if they would like to sell their designs. I intend to find more scenarios where street artists sell their work in galleries and use that to fuel more argumentation. Also, the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” a documentary on the underground world of street art, is inspiring to learn more about street artists who refuse to give up their identity yet allow their work to go global.