5 Pointz and Street Art & Skins – A Perfect Match
It has been a constant battle between fine artists and street artists in the past decade. Whether we realize it or not, our generation got to witness the birth of a completely new art form. Unwilling to accept this new art form called street art, were the great masters of classic art in today’s contemporary era. It all started with graffiti – a crude, territorial gesture. Graffiti is composed of words; they started out as names but have progressed to almost every word, meaningful or not. A common misconception, however, is that graffiti and street art fall under the same category. They merely employ a similar medium—spray paint. Street art is less territorial and was born out of the desire to share art with the world, not to claim a street slum in the ghettos of New York City. Street art also employs the use of stickers, objects, sculptures, etc.
The popularity of street art has exploded in the past couple of years. Parents condemn it but out of pure ignorance. Older generations push street art under the term “vandalism” but what they do not really know is that most street art that covers the walls of the most famous cities are commissioned. This was not always a fact, though. At the very beginning, no-name street artists would creep around the city at night with their brushes, cans, and stencils at hand ready to make a mark. Their product is usually political and never meaningless. As more and more young artists caught on to this fad it became much more than that. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a must see, phenomenal journey through the birth and evolution of street art. Banksy, one of the most well-known (even though no one knows who he is, still), street artists produced the film. The film opened the public’s eyes to the behind-the-scenes of the mysterious art form.
Street art and graffiti are still condemned. They are not considered art, they are considered defacement. People accuse them of supporting gangs. Even recently, one of the most famous graffiti spots in the world, 5pointz, located in Queens, NY was painted over white. Waking up to this did not only send shock through the art community but grief. 5pointz had become such a popular graffiti spot it was opening the minds of people to graffiti and, yes, the fact it is an art form. Jerry Wolcoff, owner of the once colorful factory building, has the walls painted over white in order to sell to clients. 5pointz, once a place of expression, color and art will now be transformed into residential and office buildings.
It seems with street art and graffiti, we take two steps forward and one step back. With any new art form, older generations have a hard time accepting it. 5pointz is just the most recent incident of backlash. But, thankfully, acceptance of this kind of art is only growing more popular with the youth as companies like L.A. Pop Art and Obey are growing. Look at the works of Ron English. Large scale pieces that millions of people pass by become more than art, they become a message. Instead of walking by and ignoring the next piece of art you see on the street, stop. Take a moment and experience that art is no longer meant for the museums. Art is no longer for the overly-cultured. Take a picture of what you see and share it with the world and hopefully by the next decade street art will be so popular every building in the world is a canvas.