Saturday, March 26, 2011

Think Before You Paint (Or Paste) - Advertising Vs. Street Art

Sure, we get that these things are a secret code. But they don't offer anything aesthetically, and if you just smash up one of these posters, its not really art (its not art at all!), its just an advertisement.

Folks can have their definition of what art it or isn't, and what qualifies. But the general way that we would define street art is stuff that makes you think for a minute, enlighten you if its good, and hopefully change your point of view.

While we love the idea of these code boxes being interactive, and think they can be used well adding to a piece, when it is the whole piece, it is just an ad trying to get attention. And that, in our book, is not art.

And up top, the brain stencil is really cool idea for street art, and we love getting people to 'think', but if you want them to think that the art is cool and not some beginner project, either nail down the handstyle (God, if you're going to spray, PRACTICE!!!) or stencil out the words.

Look how clean an precise the Pike TCF stencil is compared to the mess up top.

And we hate bitching and would love to only celebrate art. But the street are getting clogged, and not in a good way, and these things really must be said.


  1. But look at the photograph itself. Having that "think" there really makes a statement when combined with the homeless man and the dog. Could really read a lot into this shot.

  2. the past year has been really rough on the streets. its all starting to look like sloppy advertisements. weathered, decaying posters of the same repeated design. i cant stand it anymore. something i loved is quickly changing into something i detest.

  3. obviously no time or thought was put into the execution of 'think' -they may have had a decent concept but the creativity really ended there. Good presentation is the first impression--and..nobody likes 'scrawl'..

  4. the handstyled "think" stands alone unto itself, sans the brain...

    if the message is conveyed - especially with words, it impacts the human being who is viewing it.

    sometimes when words are carved out perfectly, it diminishes the message.

    I personally prefer the scrawled word, think, as it is - when meshed against the weathered texture of the metal power box, it works.

    what are the intentions of this site? "A Celebration of Street Art in Los Angeles" ?

    the tone seems quite the contrary as of late.

    As a passive observer of this site for quite sometime, I have enjoyed the countless hours, content curation, and commentary you have provided...please just continue to do what you do best...critics always reek of the foulest smells.


  5. not sure how 'carved out letters' diminish a message--but--the impression most get from the think piece is "sloppy"--just sayin-- Now if the person wrote a word that a slop style would be effective in helping convey the message- THEN I get it- but I can hardly believe that the scrawl style was an aesthetic choice on the creators part-but really-who cares- at least some people like it----Controversy is cool...

  6. Hey THEFL--its not a weathered power box--its a stucco corner..

  7. "sometimes when words are carved out perfectly, it diminishes the message." - operative word is sometimes...

    "its not a weathered power box--its a stucco corner.." - :]

  8. I love this blog and I love seeing my work and my buddy's work on this blog. I even love having my work ripped apart and whitewashed. What concerns me a little is the bias toward a certain aesthetic or ethos around what street art is. I am so down for critiquing the cult of advertising/use of public space. i am also really down for awareness around the conditions and context for the production of public space. Street artists rely on the same methodolgies as advertisers, only the do so illegally and therefore are subversive right? The good ones, the geniuses (if we still believe in such a thing), are the ones that get get some sort of political or social critique off in an instant...something witty, biting. Advertising has the same sort of trickery. Make it as consumable as possible. The more easily consumed, the greater the production rate, and the vast proliferation of images. Reach the most amount of people sort of mentality. Advertising is vacous while street art is rich and meaningful. Only, it seems at the rate we are consuming it, it is becoming as meaningless as advertisments. I did the QR code and agree that it is aesthetically terrible. Ugh, who wants to look at a bunch of black and white boxes..terrible. What I wanted was for someone curious enough, to take the time and decode the image. it's a poem to a girl that will probably never know that someone adores her. the work is in the imagination and in the shared experience of heartbreak. It's about sharing an intangible intimate experience with a stranger. Probably a failure, but an attempt at slowing the pedestrian down and making time stop for a moment. However, I did fear that they are too advertising like. Of course, that could work to my advantage as an artist who works in the streets...not a street artist. Bringn' a little art school up in here!

  9. to xo mars, well put. all good points, and the poem idea is cool, but the only thing is, to be art, it needs to have art in it.

    plenty of people have done the QR code and done it well. check out DEC's recent one

    just a thought, but maybe you could frame it around a girl, and have the code in that?

    stay up~