August 3, 2017
The World's a Canvas: Exploring Street Art
By Myranda Harnage
We’re living in a complicated age of visual pollution. Everywhere you turn, there’s a billboard, flyer, or mobile ad telling you what to consume next. As a graphic designer, I understand the importance of advertising (and welcome its existence because it pays my mortgage). But as an artist I heartily appreciate driving through a new town and seeing large scale artwork that has no agenda other than bringing life to an otherwise bland space.
This quick and dirty style of street art is the easiest to find and probably my favorite. This style isn’t always technically perfect but I’m left wondering, was this created illegally or while fully supported by the community?
Gorgeous pieces, painted stories high, are usually found tucked away on the sides of buildings throughout the hipper areas of cities. While a few pieces I’ve found can serve as reference to the local community, it seems most large scale art might only exist to enliven an otherwise unremarkable brick wall.
It’s fun to see businesses embracing the idea to be less commercial. This unique personality serves a business much better than a forgettable flyer and in some cases stops the walls from being plastered with countless ugly advertisements.
Not leaving STL anytime soon? That’s ok, we’ve got plenty of beautiful street art all around the city for you to explore. If you’re by the river, head to the Kosciusko Graffiti Wall. Every September, an event dubbed “Paint Louis” allows graffiti artists to repaint the almost 2 miles of wall. St. Louis also has somewhat of our own star in Peat Wolleager. If you’ve seen those beautiful orange eyeballs around the city then you’ve seen his art.
Whether they’re commissioned by businesses, approved by the city, or quick, overnight installations by the Banksy’s of the world, street art says more about a city’s culture than any commercial billboard ever will.