>> S t r e e t . A r t <<

The two final quarters of my Bachelor studies were done on contract in Europe. No classes, teachers or classmates; just me exploring a dream, soaking in all I possibly could. I wrote many papers, one of my finals being a 16-pager on “European Happiness: An Eastern Perspective on a Western World” where I focused on certain aspects of European culture that I observed contributing to their expression of identity and search for happiness. Some areas of studies were public art, graffiti and architecture. I have included pieces from my paper below on street art (don’t mind the citations) and pictures of pieces that I love from around the world.

by Eelus, "nesting" in London

by Inti in Paris. Photo: Yoyolabellut

In an age of such complex political systems governing over so many people, many are left feeling oppressed, unheard and hopeless in their individual voices. Although a crime in almost all areas of the world, graffiti is gaining serious respect as an art form and popularity as a powerful means of self-expression. It can be careless defacement, but at its heart exists as public expressions using pictures and words carrying artistic or political messages.

by Herakut. Portsmouth, UK

by Fintan Switzer, "Adam". Killarney, Ireland

by Iemza. Reims, France

Painting on our surrounding environments has been fulfilling our need of  expression for thousands of years. Graffiti comes from the Italian word “graffiato” which means “scratched” (Bingham, 2010). Forms of graffiti can be traced all the way back to ancient cave paintings, hieroglyphs, and even sayings, names and drawings of politicians found on building sides in the remains of Pompeii (Barbieri, 2008). It has since become one of the largest artistic movements of the 20th century.

3D street painting:

by Edgar Mueller. Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Geldern, Germany. by Julian Beever

Edgar Mueller. Russia

Many artists say it is not out of boredom or personal vendetta, rather a way for an individual or group of oppressed people to get their message to the masses in a way that cannot be ignored.  Often intelligent, shocking, powerful and/or humorous pictures and slogans are used to gain attention and make people think. A famous example of this is the Berlin Wall in Germany. After its construction separating the West from communist East Berlin, the people of the West protested the Wall by defacing it in some of the most powerful, political and emotional graffiti of modern times (Bingham, 2010).  The messages and styles within graffiti speak of the cultures they reflect at the time of creation.

This is Banksy… An unidentified British graffiti artist who has traveled the world leaving his famous marks behind, including on the Israeli West Bank barrier. Banksy is very popular and controversial. I recommend watching his film called, “Exit Through the Gift Shop”.

Do the times shape the artist, or does the artist shape the times?

West Bank barrier

^^^ Banksy section. End ^^^

When we take an art history course, or buy an art history book from a store, we are told about the same artists over and over and are directed to what is “good art” and what is worth our time and energy to focus on. I am not sure who made these determinations, but some may argue it is an opinion of a few that is being shoved down the throats of many (Howells, 2003). Regardless of their medium, graffiti artists are able to reach a certain depth of human emotion and experience, which is exactly what art at its best does. It makes you think and feel in real, powerful ways. It opens doors to release emotion and lets others know they are not alone in their human or political frustrations.

Unknown. East London

ROA. Vienna, Austria

Moose. Reverse graffiti

by Alberto de Pedro. Aranjuez station Madrid, Spain

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Definitely future posts to come on technique, artists and other pieces…

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. M i k a e l a . M a e .

Once upon a college art class, I met an intriguing girl named Mika Jones.

[^Christopher Hills^]

Not only did she have a deep, emotional style to her art that really spoke to me, she was ethereal yet dark and let off a mysterious, alluring vibe. I had the pleasure of working with her a few times in class and was indefinitely charmed. I am so grateful that I get to witness her art and modeling grow, which is inspirational for me as an artist, photographer and a transforming woman myself.

[Maggie West ^]

I recently began reading bits of her writings and I am thrilled. Her stories beautifully drum on the abstract human journey through life, love, pain, darkness and Self. There are not many living, modern-day artists that I hold such creative admiration for, I feel blessed to know her.

. . .

Death liked to be inconvenient and once M asked her why when they had run into one another by chance. It was at a bar in Milan and M was drinking a cappuccino the size of a thimble when death bumped into her, causing her to curse.

“Ciao Bella” Death said with a sly smile and a cat’s tongue. M knew her too well, for death had made many appearances and was too beautiful to forget. M watched coldly as Death snorted white powder up her nose and laughed with electric eyes.

“So you want to know why I keep coming by, do you? Why I keep talking to your friends? Why I have your boyfriend’s number?” M nodded with her hair in her eyes. Why was she even talking to this creature, for she surely was not the woman she disguised herself as? Death kept laughing as she read her thoughts. “Well it’s not because I like you, that’s for sure. Don’t flatter yourself missy, you’re nothing special in the scheme of things.”

“Then why waste your time?” Forcing herself to look Death in the eye finally, stung by the harshness of her tone. Death stroked her cheek and sighed slowly, her shoulders small and fragile with the weight of her breath.

“Because you remind me of me, and I’m lonely too.”

. . .

[^Rachel Q Waniewski]                                                                  [Kelly Withers^]

Her artist page goes by “Mikaela Mae”. She’s studied art in China, Italy, and America and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is for sale, she does commissions, tattoo design, vintage clothes/accessories, models and writes.

mikamaejones[at]gmail[dot]com

                                                                                                  [Maggie West^] [^Amanda Paredes of Swae-Photography^]

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A u d r e y * K a w a s a k i

Los Angeles based painter, Audrey Kawasaki, has been one of my favorite artists for many years now. Her paintings are usually of an erotic, mystic yet innocent feel, using mostly youthful women painted directly on wood. Influenced by Japanese manga and Art Nouveau, her style is humble, deep, and oh so sweet. Enjoy..

***all photos from her webpage or blog***