Whether you consider it art work or vandalism, there is no denying that street art is hot right now. Last year, Sotheby’s held an auction of Banksy pieces, selling them for up to £500k – something made illegally, with an innate transience, created in a public space, sold for half a million. It’s unbelievable (and some think, unethical), but whatever your opinion, it’s a fact that street art has evolved into a specific aesthetic and art form with its own super stars, known outside of their own circle and scene.
Artists all over the world are making names for themselves, using ever more original ideas to get their message across: the retro-tiled aliens of Space Invader, Ben Cunningham’s painted chewing gum blobs, the delicate paper cut-outs of Swoon, Cityzen Kane’s beautiful metal sculptures or Christiaan Nagel’s bright pop art mushrooms…. And the best thing is, it is free to see. A part of street art is making it available to everyone – for the time is exists. Impermanence is at the core: see it while you can, miss it if you can’t. And the portability of the medium means that we all have a chance to see it. Artists travel and leave their mark (literally) in cities across the world.
Street Art London takes groups of visitors around Old Street and Shoreditch, looking for and explaining some of the most prominent pieces in the area. Of course, the tour is always changing as new walls are added, others are repainted, and still more are amended, altered and evolved, but they have connections with some of the best active artists around and can always find something special.
P.S. If you’re in Basel, look out for the Space Invader pieces dotted across the city.