Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Professional Vandals?

Yesterday, Vandalog published an article by Peter Drew entitled 'Professional Vandals'.  The essence of the article is that DALeast painted over a mural in London.  DALeast had permission from the building owner, but not the artist who's art had previously been on the wall.  When confronted about the permission, it came to light that Rom, the Chief Editor behind StreetArtNews had lined up the wall.  Drew accuses Rom of granting special coverage to DALeast while failing to disclose his working as some sort of a manager.   Rom has reportedly denied being DALeast's managing, claiming it is just a close relationship.

Even if is this is not the best example to do it, Drew's article does go on to raise some very valid points about whether street art is about breaking rules and fighting for what's right against the system, or just painting a pretty piece for whoever is paying.

Here is a segment from Drew's article to put it in context

"for those of us who view street art as a DIY counterculture, we’d better get used to questioning where our ‘news’ comes from.

With a new spin on an old clich√©, artists assume the pose of ‘fuck the system’ until their audience wise up to the contradictory and masturbatory claims of an industry that apparently aims to fuck itself. Moving on, the informed audience is quickly replaced by the next crop of pubescent rebels, all too eager to buy the OBEY cap, adopt Brooklyn slang and congratulate themselves for being authentic.
For anyone that believes street art can be more than the lucrative exploitation of teen angst, it’s important to call bullshit whenever it appears. Put simply, be a capitalist, or, be an anarchist, just don’t tell us you’re both."

Exactly.  Love how that last line that sums it up nicely.

This seems like a funny way to make the distinction, but M&F has always agreed that there is a distinction between true street art and public art murals.  Our personal preference is supporting the street art, not because the final product is prettier, but because of the elements of stealth, risk, and surprise that feed into it.  Those are the ingredients of street art.  Murals are pretty, but they are more 'public art' than street art.

To be clear, M&F is not against murals and we strongly feel the more art, the better any environment is.  Murals are awesome, but it must be pointed out that nearly every single mural in the world has been done with some sort of invitation, sponsorship or commission.

But should there be a distinction made between the coverage of organic street art vs. legal eagle public murals?  What is that distinction? and How should that distinction be denoted?

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