Academic discourses tend to treat street art and graffiti like blind men envisioning an elephant based on touch. Sociology and anthropology look at it as a subculture based around transgressive behaviour and try to understand what motivates street artists and writers. Art History considers the physical products as being the art of the untrained when not ignoring them altogether. (The fields of Art History and art criticism look upon the street work of the few artists that they do recognize, like Jean-Michel Basquiat, with the awkward tone one would use when discussing a favorite politician’s juvenile indiscretions). Criminology looks at what can be done to prevent law-breaking. Urban studies make a brief mention of street art and graffiti when discussing urban crime and undesireable behaviour.
All in all, it’s a compartmentalized, categorizing and often downright condescending approach. What’s worse about the approach is that it turns a lot of people off from academia by giving them a sense that there isn’t a framework out there that would allow them to put their ideas out and expand upon them. And that’s a damn shame. Because I believe in street art just as much as I believe in good urban design and I’m sure that there must be a number of means of fusing the two together.
And check out My Etsy Shop for the first ever MaksWerks art print!
more to come…