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Global Street Art: The International View on the World of Street Art

Graffiti and street art has often been viewed as an American tradition, something that came about with the rise of hip-hop culture in the late seventies. And, in some respects, this assessment isn’t entirely untrue. The early hip-hop movements certainly popularized street art and kickstarted its integration into the rest of the art world, but it’s never been an American invention. Street art existed long before those times, and it continues to pop up all over the world. And while many people and places are dedicated to showcasing the international community of street artists, none do it quite as well as Global Street Art.

Global Street Art is a site based out of London that showcases art and murals that are happening around the world. Using a global community of writers, photographers, and street art enthusiasts, the site is dedicated to showing off just how international the world of street art truly is. Not content simply showing off what’s happening in its own country, known to some as the land that produced Banksy, the people at Global Street Art look to the furthest reaches of the globe to see how street art is used elsewhere, and how these trends affect the global community.

By showcasing international artists, the website has become a fascinating study in how influence moves and changes throughout the globe. For example, while many street art experts have been able to trace the influence of American hip-hop in Brazilian art, especially in Sao Paulo, you can look at Global Street Art to see how Sao Paulo’s distinctive style has moved to other parts of South America, including its neighbouring countries and even up into Central America. It’s also an amazing glimpse into how local styles can morph these influences into something wholly new and entirely their own, not unlike what Sao Paulo did decades ago.

Global Street Art goes beyond paintings on walls, however, and even looks at art styles that show up in commercial work and more. They even provide street art tours in Camden, and have a book showcasing their hard work. And by looking beyond street art in the traditional sense, they also show how this particularly type of art has influenced other types of media.

Constantly updating and ever-changing, Global Street Art is one of the best sites out there for anyone who wants to look at how diverse and wide-reaching the world of graffiti and public art has become, and continues to be. Rather than simply looking inwards, as many sites in England and North America do, this collective of talented individuals look at how diversity and cultural influence can impact and improve the art and the culture surrounding street art.

brooklyn street art webpage

Brooklyn Street Art

One of the best things about street art in the digital age is its ability to disseminate throughout the world. Pieces are no longer confined to simply the city, or even the single canvas, on which they were created. The thought, the image, can be spread around the world at the speed of light, depending on your internet service provider, and shared with people around the world. It has given many artists a new platform in which to share their art and build careers. Even the extremely aloof Banksy has managed to use the internet to draw awareness, build his (or her, or their?) portfolio, and make a substantial amount of money, something which wasn’t even possible even just a short decade ago.

Of course, the shift to digital has also brought with it another aspect of street art: appreciation and community building. Each of these are an essential part of street art as a whole, and the internet has allowed the fast-spreading images of the world’s street art to meet the eyes of rabid fans and suave critics, all of whom express their love of the art form, in all its many iterations, in their own ways. One such way is by Steven P. Harrington, Jaime Rojo, and their fellow writers, artists, and photographers at Brooklyn Street Art.

The website, originally a way to catalogue and discuss Brooklyn’s diverse and wonderfully elaborate world of street art, murals, and more, the site has expanded to include the world over, and does an amazing job of not only connecting art to fans, but artists to the public, and work to admirers all over the world. The site features interviews, criticism, a beautiful range of photography, and more, all designed to showcase the many artists in the world, and the good work they’re doing in their hometowns and around the globe.

But Brooklyn Street Art, lovingly referred to as “BSA,” is more than just a hype machine, it’s also interested in pop culture’s place in street art, and the inverse, and frequently publishes articles focusing on how the many different mediums interact with each other. As trends develop in the street,” Harrington writes on the site, “We watch to see how they affect popular culture and the rest of the art world.”

And BSA isn’t focused on simply graffiti, or even street art that’s on the actual street. The site also explores different forms of street art. Or, as they put it: “New hybrids, new techniques, and new mediums are expanding the definition of public art, street art, graffiti, and urban art.” By considering more than just graffiti, the site is able to keep up with the changing face of public art as a whole.

What BSA proves is that street art can and does benefit from a critical discourse and enthusiastic fanbase, one that’s both passionate and intelligent. It helps not only the artists, but the entire community bond, build, and create.

wall therapy homepage

Wall/Therapy

Art can serve multiple functions, ones that we can often take for granted. When it comes to street art, we mostly think of it in two ways: as community projects and as beautification Measure. For the first, grants and privately-funded art projects are constantly going on all over the world. They can help young artists see their work somewhere important, and it can give paying jobs to artists, youth, and other members of the community. These projects can strengthen neighbourhoods, and even cities, all thanks to the power of art. And, of course, it usually doesn’t hurt that the art makes wherever it is a little nicer to look at.

But researchers have been looking into how art can help people as a therapy for decades. Indeed, art therapy courses are becoming more and more common, particularly with the elderly, people recovering motor control, and even those who’ve suffered brain damage. The combination of soothing creation and necessary fine motor skills make art the perfect therapy for many people, and it’s only getting more popular.

It’s from this standpoint that the Wall/Therapy Festival was born. Knowing full well that art has the power to heal, and help people recover, the festival was created to celebrate and encourage the link between art and health.

The festival started with Dr. Ian Wilson in Rochester, New York, a city that he felt deserved some giving back. So he decided to start a “community-level intervention using mural art as a vehicle to address our collective need for inspiration,” according to the website. That first festival was simple: Dr. Wilson gave eleven artists, whom he called “therapists,” the means to “rehabilitate” walls around the city. The festival not only beautified 16 walls throughout the city, it also sparked a community dialogue about the city and the role of art in its identity and everyday workings.

Since then, the festival has happened every year, getting bigger and bigger while touching more and more people. Soon, Dr. Wilson created a secondary initiative to help the city. Called “IMPACT!” (IMProving Access to Care by Teleradiology), the program sets up diagnostic imaging sites in developing countries. Basically, the idea of imagery as an important aspect of healing comes not just through creative art, but through the very images of our bodies that can tell us something about what’s happening inside. Together, the festival and initiative have helped not only the citizens of Rochester, New York, but people around the world.

Wall/Therapy recognizes that art is not completely disjointed from ourselves, but an integral aspect of how we interact, communicate, and even heal. It’s not simply something done as a release or side project, but is intrinsically tied to the very core of our being, as a society, and as individuals. Wall/Therapy recognizes such a powerful connection, and takes it to a wholly different levels, and the street.