As a child, seeing city surfaces scarred with graffiti would make me sad. I didn’t understand why people felt the need to deface someone else’s property with words and names written in secretive mischief. Years later I’m still at a loss when I wander through streets and find random words splayed across walls, doors, and signs; however, I’ve also come to appreciate the other, more dramatic and imaginative outlet of graffiti: street art.
Street art can be a contentious topic. Some people prefer their cities to remain pristine and clear- or as close to this standard as possible. Personally, I find street art inspiring. It’s a display of someone’s creativity, offered free of charge for others’ enjoyment. True, not everyone may enjoy it; but art is not a universally enjoyable thing. It’s barely universally definable.
Many people wander through an art museum and marvel at the masterpieces on display; yet occasionally, some will be confused. To one person, a contemporary artist’s sculpture of found objects may look more like it was fished from a landfill; similarly, there is the common critique of minimalist artworks: ‘I could have painted that.’ Just as it is not entitled to universal enjoyment, art does not need to be complex, colourful, grand, or impressive. Indeed, in the most basic of terms, art is anything that evokes or stimulates a response. This encompasses all art forms, from drawing and sculpture, to music and literature.
I believe in equality, not only of people, race, and gender, but also of ideas and values. By this standard of equality, all forms of art are entitled to respect and admiration. Even if a particular composition is displeasing to one person, it should be admired for its emotional and evocative power. No expression of emotion, life, legend, belief, or art deserves to be ridiculed and deemed unworthy, for it is the product of effort, dedication, thought, and creativity.
Throughout my exploration of Europe, I have discovered beauty and inspiration in street art. England, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Serbia… the list of countries showcasing vibrant, expressive street art continues to grow. There’s something exciting and fulfilling in discovering these impressive statements hidden in a maze of street corners and cobblestones.
PS- This will start a collection of posts on street art. Keep in touch for more images from across the world.