Archive for street art

Street Art – The Final Piece

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , on October 18, 2010 by Adam Broome

Being posted up a little later than planned, the final piece based on my ‘street art’ manifesto eventually came to an end earlier today. The idea was for three stand-alone photos, of which two were taken. Everything was set to go for the third, but time seems just impossibly tight nowadays (I know, no excuses…). Oh well, as Meat Loaf said, ‘two out of three ain’t bad’.

So, the first photo was to be of a hoody smoking, with his back to the camera, and a board with ‘love’ written on it pinned to his back. The juxtaposition of a loveless photo bearing the message was designed to make the viewer think perhaps about what love actually is (and since all three photos form a trident of ‘Love Is Aggression’, this opening photo suits the piece quite well). I am the hoody, because I knew how impossible it is to get anyone from my course in front of the camera (though I’m not giving up yet!). I set off with a fellow student who opted to be my cameraman, only to see him walk off en route to the shoot, claiming he had ‘prior social arrangements’. By sheer luck, I managed to find another fellow student, who gladly gave five minutes to help me out. The result is:


In the end, this is the one I chose. I would personally have chosen to take the photo closer to the subject, but in retrospect, the wide-angle shot gives a feeling of isolation to the piece, which fits the mood I wanted to create perfectly. Overall, this is quite close to what I originally had in mind. I am in fact smoking a cigarette, but it’s a little hard to tell since the shot was taken from afar. I realise with this project that if I become the model of the photo, I can’t take the photo I want. Sounds obvious, but I didn’t fully realise. My friend took some good photos, but some I just didn’t like, for example:

This one seemed a little out of focus, but for me, that wasn’t the main problem. Having ‘university’ in the background inspires hope. Recalling a blog post from last year entitled ‘Being Opinionated About Photographs’, I remember that photographic art is usually pessimistic. This photo also does not obey the rule of thirds… but this time, it’s in a bad way. Also… the way I hold a cigarette is rather camp (to be honest, I was trying to vain to conceal the yellow university logo on the sleeve!)

Overall, although this photo turned out well, next time I must be behind the camera in order to achieve the proper effect. Which takes us back to where we started, in effect. I can’t get fellow students to star in my documentaries, or act in my films, or pose for my photos. By the end of this term, this continuous problem of mine MUST BE RESOLVED.

Moving on to the second picture, ‘Is’, we have quite an awkward one. With my planned would-be photographer off having drinks and being happy, I tried to shoot the sign with my finger in the frame. I quickly realised hat by taking the photo, I was positioned too close to the lens. Problems like these with DSLR cameras can be rectified by using some sort of button-operating equipment which I am currently seeking out, along with a firewire and a lens hood. Nonetheless, I made full use of the city-like panoramic views outside my local windows of my home. The end result:

This was taken from a selection of photos. You can probably tell I’m a big fan of diegesis when it comes to photography art, and the lighting is evident here. I quite liked how the corner of the sign is highlighted by the block of apartments beyond (accidental, of course!). Overall, as this word has no direct meaning, this photo was always going to be a hard one to pull off. Placed between two others, it would have worked. However, the last one was never taken, despite the location and the sign being all ready to go. Again, I needed a none-existent photographer AND a fellow model to stand alongside me. It seems, for this week at least, we just couldn’t get the staff.

This is one of the photos I didn’t choose, because the lighting was completely wrong. The wine bottle in the background did add something the photo, but I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted, so I chose to omit it from the final frame:

And here is the final A2 board, with no frame for a home (yet)

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The Street Art Project

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , on October 14, 2010 by Adam Broome

So, once the manifesto was created, we were tasked with creating some form of media artefact based on the manifestoes we had created. I had an idea in my head more or less immediately (one of those completely nonsensical-and-rubbish-yet-perfectly-suitable-for-art kind of idea). The idea was actually inspired by several fellow students, who had used boards with writing on as part of their projects previously. This is the first time I’ve been inspired to make an artefact based on their work. It was a good moment ­čÖé

The artefact will comprise of three photos. One photo seems just too easy, given the fact I did just take over forty photos of leaves falling off trees in the War Memorial Park just for fun. I went with three words: Love, Is, Aggression. The idea would be that one word will be written on a varying piece of paper. The paper would then be framed into a shot, and a photo would be taken. Of course, this being ‘art’, the connotations of the surrounding environment would probably contradict the word itself. Thus, for the word ‘love’, I immediately had an idea of a hooded youth. Knowing full well that I would be the only one willing to pose for these pictures, I will need a teammate to take the photos for me.

So, ‘Love’ – a youth sits with his back to the camera. He or she is sitting on a wall with a cigarette. The paper is stuck on the back of the hood with ‘Love’ written on it. ‘Is’ was a much harder idea to come by, since no real meaning is given on the word alone. Hence, I plan to put the word of a folded piece of paper, and sit it upon a chair in my communal area. I will stand next to it, and point at the word. Make of that what you will. ‘Aggression’ needed to be a happy photo, so I decided the best way to display this would… *ahem*… be if there was a girl holding a big piece of paper (A2 to be precise), and I was stood next to her facing her. I place a little kiss on her cheek whilst she giggles. Happy times all round. This would require another model. Any takers?

Originally, that final photo was one I intended to do in a photo studio (ie: plain white background). Then I realised that could possibly ┬ácontradict the ‘looking suitable on a street’, so I’ll make life easier for myself and shoot it up against a wall or something. I journeyed out and bought a big book of A2 sheets, as I will probably use some more for future projects (┬ú4 from Rymans). I intend to shoot all three photos over the weekend.

Ultimately, the photos can mean anything you want them to mean. Collectively, the piece will be called just that: ‘Love Is Aggression’. The funny thing is, as stand-alone pieces, you could maybe read into the pieces even more. If you weren’t able to read between the lines in my manifesto, I will confirm this one notion for you: my art is hardly ever serious. I can do serious, but only when ready to produce serious things. Given that we only have a week to do this whole project, I question the seriousness. Thus, I will produce these photos, which do have hidden meaning I’m sure. But they are not to be taken in absolute honesty.

If you wonder why I chose photos, basically they’re easy for me to do and pose for. I know locations of plenty of interesting streets, and I hopefully know people willing to help me out with it. It was also down to the fact that we are working on ideas that have come from paintings and pictures (ie: still images). Even the video in the gallery was stop-motion. It seemed like the logical choice to make a project based around still images out of that research… and I’ve also never done arty photos before, so this just seemed like a good opportunity to try it!

The Street Art Manifesto

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , on October 11, 2010 by Adam Broome

CALLING ALL STREET ARTISTS!

I have produced here a manifesto. It is unlikely I am able to encapsulate the entire ideologies of street art over a single day’s study of this strange sub-genre of expression. However, I require to make one that I can use to produce my own artefact. If I get even half way towards what street art is really about, that’s good enough for me!

1. The Youth Of Today Affects The Culture Of Tomorrow – All art must account for the youth of today (aged 1 to nineteen). If we choose to represent the youth of today, or broadcast their views, we must be aware that we will affect people’s views of youth, and thus, how the youth of the generation will respond to these views, and the cultures that will be created therefrom.

2. All Art Must Be Symbolic, Iconic And Rhetoric – All art produced under the genre of street art must be metaphorical to some degree. Street art is not a literal art form of pure description or explanation. Street art is subliminal and sublime.

3. Art Must Deal With The Real – All art must be relevant to all current social, economical, political, cultural and technological contexts. Street art is based upon the here and now. It can incorporate ideas of the past, but it does not choose to seek out the future.

4. Our Imagery Will Attack Our Audience – Street art must be striking, unique, and distinguishable from all other genres of art. The use of icons and symbols must be to the ideal of creating a strong emotional response for the audience. Street art is not something that is created for entertainment, nor should it be treated as such.

5. Art Is Not For The Artist’s Gain – Artists who produce street art must not create with the sole purpose of creating profit, or benefitting in any way from their expressions. The art is to represent social factors, but in an artist’s gain, his feelings of the ‘real’ and the views of the majority will become distorted. Fame is not the favourable outcome of this movement.

6. Street Art Is Anti-Establishment Orientated – Street art seeks out to challenge the normal, the obvious, and the dominating. It seeks to metaphorically attack the establishments of the rich and famous, and those in power and who lead the masses. It seeks to target the minority who lead the majority, using the feelings, views and opinions of the majority.

7. Innocence Is Visual – The true meaning of street art will always be apparent, but usually dressed to look innocent from afar. Street art is post-modern, and should always have a sense of fun, and a lack of seriousness. Street art takes the form of a joke, and turns what is perceived as the serious into a mockery.

8. Street Art Must Be Street Worthy – Street art does not have to originate on the streets of any town or city, but however does need to abide the rule that it should not look out of place on such a street. The art must look like it would fit in a street setting, thus becoming ‘street art’. Art that does not look fit to be placed on the corner of a pavement is questionable to it’s identity as a form of ‘street art’.

9. Art Is Not Freedom – All art is considered a form of expression, and abides to the rules of the freedom of expression. Street art is limited, even so by this manifesto. All art in this genre is widely open to interpretation by the artists, and they can create as such, but under the various guises that differentiate this art form from the others. Thus, any artist seeking to specifically create street art must adhere to these guidelines, and is therefore restricted in their expression. Their work can portray as such.

10. Art Is An Establishment – Linking in with points 6, 7 and 9 primarily, the mockery of our work may also reflect upon ourselves as artists. Ours is an establishment of the people we want to portray and voice. We are against all other establishments, who may seek to challenge our views. We use our right to freedom of speech through our art, with the aim of challenging these establishments using our own.

Street Art, Futurism, And Manifestos

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , , on October 11, 2010 by Adam Broome

Today has been the first official day back. Last week was a week of meting old friends, recapping over the summer vacation, and filming a one minute video to promote ourselves. I realised whilst making my video two things:

1. Avid really is rubbish.

2. My portfolio is somewhat limited.

Last year was a year of mostly failures. Indeed, learning from these experiences is a good thing – I was bound to meet with hardship at some point. Now into the second year, it is time to start creating artefacts that will benefit my portfolio in the future. I am pleased to say that I do feel ready to undertake this. I feel I know everything I need to to get cracking on some serious media production.

And the university has wasted no time in tasking me with such.

Today, we have studied very generally the idea of the ‘manifesto’. Manifestos are lists of rules, or guidelines, or a set of beliefs or ideologies. Manifestos can vary in their content and meaning, but to start us off, we looked at Futurism – an art movement that took place at the start of the 20th century – and the Futurism Manifesto. Funnily enough, I have seen one such manifesto in rather recent times – I recently watched the film Antichrist by Lars Von Trier. Lars Von Trier was one of the founding members of the Dogme ’95 movement, which was a film movement of the mid-nineties which attempted to get cinema back to it’s origins. Ironically, his film Antichrist breaks almost all of the rules listed in the Dogme ’95 manifesto… and it is also his most successful to date. Go figure.

But back here in Coventry, Futurism was the topic we were focused on. The Futurism manifesto was very aggressive, and very much about national identity and pride. Written by fellow artist F.T Marinette, the manifesto is written in an almost poetic sense of self-belief. Futurism chose to discard the past in favour of a better future, expressed through the forms of paintings. The art would be focused on the minority, and their overcoming of the establishments that threatened to dominate their future. It was about being poetic, and making serious points through the work. Someone in the lecture hall suggested it was biblical – referring to the ten commandments. In some ways that is true, but another person suggested the manifesto was simply the clashing of various intellectuals. Myself? I thought the manifesto was about the dominance of art through aggressive physical control. If art could dominate minds, or at the very least stand for something, perhaps the artists sought to become opinion leaders in some form of revolt. After all, Futurism was indeed setting out to challenge preconceived ideas.

At this point, you already know a lecturer is about to ask you to make a manifesto of your own, but before that, we were sent to our local art gallery to check out some street art. Banksy’s work was amongst them, along with work by aptly-titled artist Mohammed Ali, and several other street artists – some of which made works taken from the street, but others who had taken the style of street art, but designed the pieces specially for gallery exhibits. There were several parts of the room open for the audience to create their own street art on the wall, demonstrating how open street art is, and how connected it is to the social factors that influence it.

One particular piece I took time to analyse was ‘Napalm’ by Banksy. This was mostly due to it’s shock value, yet also due to the fact I could identify all three characters in the print. Mickey Mouse, a symbol of innocence and an icon of Western Culture, walks on the left. Ronald MacDonald, a symbol of consumerism, and also an icon of Western Culture, walks on the right. In the middle, a vietnamese child running from a recently-napalmed village during the vietnam war. A symbol of the horrors of war, and a vivid icon of what Western Culture has done. The image epitomised several factors I had noticed throughout the gallery – first off that politics and war were a recurring theme. Second, that youth, or moreover, innocence, is also present in most of the works. But this picture seemed to revel in the juxtaposition and contradictions it portrayed, that Western Culture is responsible for all three icons, for better or for worse. The use of colour is also notable – yellows and browns, almost replicating the effect of a napalm strike.

Considering this, I deduced that street art had several running themes that guided the works of the artists. Work needed to be metaphorical, and it needed to operate on a level of social context. This was to be a big help when my lecturer then asked us to make our own manifesto for street art. We are to create our own manifesto, and then create an artefact based on that manifesto. The manifesto has to be entitled ‘street art’, and the work has to be just as such.