Procreate as a digital medium with its brushes, layering, distortions, transparency and blend modes to do things not easy or even possible in analogue media
“Grafffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.” Banksy 2011
Street art is any form of artistic intervention in a public space. These spaces are often urban, but can also be in rural areas. Depending on where it is, why and how it is made, and your particular perspective can be welcome or a public nuisance. It is often temporary or ephemeral, but may also be designed to be long-lasting.
Artwork ranges from murals to stencils, stickers to posters, spray can graffiti to impromptu sculptures. It can encompass figurative illustrations and/or stylised abstraction and/or conceptual ideas.
Ancient sculpted reliefs and frescos were a form of public street art. Graffiti as an anti-establishment activity has existed for centuries in many societies. When paper was less easy to come by, writing on walls was very common as a public way of expressing opinions. It was also common in houses eg Elizabethan era as a private way of remembering verses.
Other antecedents include chalk artists busking on the street, murals and commercial signage. In African and Asian cultures women have often decorated their houses with different motifs in paint or materials like coloured rice paste . In some countries street art is a prominent part of political propaganda by the authorities trying to reach particularly constituencies with low levels of literacy. Public illustrations on buildings, trees and other sites is commonly used by NGOs and development agencies to promote a message. Street Art has been increasingly commissioned by public and also corporate companies to beautify surfaces that otherwise might be defaced by graffiti.
Lisbon has embraced street art, proudly incorporating the images of giant illustrations as a marketing tool, turning derelict buildings into an asset.
Street Art in Lisbon
See also promotion os street art in Tehran.
Street Art may be the work of one individual artist, or a more collaborative exercise between artists, or include participation of the general public. Or any combination of these.
More recently Street Art has been a prominent feature of many social movements in Latin America and the Middle East as a way of publicising protest and social messages.
Street Art as ‘Art’
Recently there have been an increasing number or artists interesting in using public spaces as a location for their art. These artists have generally had an anti-establishment focus, but their aims are arguably more artistic than political. However often they are still doing it without permission. Consequently much of street art’s placing is playful, temporary or overtly challenging. There’s something very liberating about the idea of seeing the world as a canvas in which any surface is up for grabs and an audience for your work is guaranteed, but this artistic freedom comes at a price for those artists engaged in what is essentially a criminal act of defacing. Many street artists have started to deal with this issue by working with communities and arts organisations to sanction their work and provide spaces to work on legally.
These artists often develop a trademark approach, using different spaces but with repetition of themes and motifs, or variations on these, replicated across cities, but a similar motif, such as Street art has allowed artists from outside the art world to have a platform for their work, while for established artists the idea of producing site-specific work has been an alternative to working inside the gallery. Street art today is multi-disciplinary, drawing on lots of different media and arts traditions.. Although street art has continued to use spray cans and stencils it has also seen the transfer of traditional art materials.
Street Art Utopia: A blog documenting street art from around
Wooster Collective Celebrating street art
Scrawl Collective: A network of grafitti and street artists
working on paper
Spray paint art murals
Banksy: The artist Bansky has used a combination of stencils and spray paint to start a satirical and often political commentary on the streets of his native Bristol and beyond.
Largescale art on buildings
Blu: Large-scale illustrations spanning wall pieces, animations and sketchbook work
Lucy McLauchlan: Contemporary artist working on large-scale illustrative pieces
Sam3: Large-scale murals
Jorge Rodriguez Gerada: Large-scale drawings
Crono Project: Large-scale street art project in Lisbon
Ben Eine: Large-scale typography drawing on the typographic tradition of signage
Ericailcane: Large-scale illustrative work
Photographic street art and posters
JR: Giant photography pieces – giant portraits of residents onto the walls of poor neighbourhoods around the world.
Camilla Watson: Photography printed directly onto the surface of walls.
Bast: Street collage and posters
Invader: Space invader-inspired mini-mosaics which are stuck unobtrusively in corners of cities across the globe.
Slinkachu: The Little People Project
Knitta: In Texas, a group of women under the collective identity of Knitta have challenged the often male environment of street art with their guerilla knitting movement. Website documenting guerilla knitting around the world
Edgar Mueller: disorientating 3D chalk drawings on the pavement that play with visual reality.
The idea of making art with a specific place in mind is not solely linked to street art. Sculpture, performance and mural artists, amongst others, have engaged with the idea of how you respond to and change an actual place by making art to be placed within it.
Gavin, Francesca (2007) Street Renegades: New Underground Art
London: Laurence King.
Street art covered by The Guardian
Depending on your point of view, street art is either a scourge of our cities or it’s part of the cultural fabric that makes city living interesting. Street art may be seen as an eyesore as developing artists vie for attention. The street is a shared space, so who gives street artists the right to try and interfere? Certainly many people see street art and graffiti as an unwanted interference. Others see the street as a place where dialogue can take place and believe that people can and should comment within the social, institutional and commercial spaces around them. Artists don’t always get it right and their work doesn’t last forever. Even Banksy’s pieces are routinely cleaned up and painted over.
Identify examples of street art on the walls near you. If you live in a rural community this might be a problem as street art tends to be largely an urban phenomenon. If necessary, pick some examples from the references below or through your own research.
Write a short commentary about how this work interacts with the environment. How important is the context to understanding what the work is trying to do? Reflect on whether you think a particular piece of graffiti is ‘art’ or just vandalism.
Use your learning log to document your reflections.
The images below are of spray paintings by unknown ‘antisocials’ under a bridge near me. These change over time and are a response to other paintings by university student rowing teams. The location, reflections in water and their anger make them and the location eerily beautiful. If they were more ‘artistic’ they would not have the same impact.
Key Resources on architectural illustration
The Society of Architectural Illustrators
Represents ‘professionals who bring architecture to life’. Their illustrators / SAI members A–Z section shows a wide range of different approaches.
A group of architects influenced by avant-garde art movements who playfully challenged assumptions about modern architecture. All of their work was presented as proposals, through drawings and collage. A very different approach to representing and visualising architecture through drawing.
The Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA)
Has a series of online workshops, videos and other resources exploring architectural history, drawing and design. Useful to gain a broader perspective on architectural ideas.
Michael Blower archive
Examples of British architect Michael Blower’s sketchbooks are available via the website:
Photorealistic 3D and CGI imaging
Top of the list of Google Search for Architectural Illustration are companies doing photorealistic 3D and CGI imaging, some with animation. This is a very specialised field requiring a high level of 3D Digital skill – not something I could aspire to.
Watercolour/ink and wash/acrylic
Some of this merges into street/travel illustration.
He sets up perspective views on a drawing board in the traditional way and uses a range of stencils for ellipses and curves, working with pencils, brushes and paint. His watercolour images are usually more detailed and accurate than his acrylic paintings. He spends more time doing the drawing than the painting. He also paints in oils en plein air – he likes to work fast with the changing light.
Lucia often brings together lots of photographic references and creates a preliminary collage as well as doing some sketches. Her actual illustrations are created on paper using ink, watercolour, pastels, pens or acrylic – though not necessarily all together. However she does use Photoshop to tweak and perfect a piece. Also fashion.
Clean with some Photorealism. Hand-drawn imagery and coloured digitally. Sometimes he combines drawn print designs with digital elements to build up an image. Sometimes, he’ll also draw his map designs using vector graphics.
more stylised influenced by Pop Art. Drawn with pen and ink then scanned and coloured in Photoshop.
She works from a graphite or pen drawing, sometimes with a subtle watercolour background. This is scanned in and coloured digitally using Photoshop’s brushes or flat colours.
Uses different compositions, and bold colors in a limited palette, often creating patterns. Most of her work is done using Photoshop and Illustrator, but she also combines hand-made textures, screenprinting and collage work. Also does Fashion.
Tobias creates little worlds in bringing together digital and traditional techniques. He draws designs by hand and finishes them in 3D with the computer.
For basic figure drawing see: Figure Sketching
I realily like the very basic stylised figures here. An architectural illustrator.
This is a very basic stylised video, showing use of eyeline and basic principles of capturing people in a scene. I like the variation between ink outline, then others started in wash.
Teoh’s tips for sketching people on location – contour drawing and don’t keep moving your head up and down.
This one is just inking in already drawn people. But I like the style.
Realitime videos by Meridel L. Abrams following of how she copes with the various challenges of sketching on location.The first is very rapid sketching of shoppers in a parking lot. The second more stationary outside a restaurant. Both done from a car.
Teo Yi Chie
based in Singapore
source Wikipedia and Google images
Laurence Stephen Lowry (1 November 1887 – 23 February 1976) is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England in the mid-20th century. Many of his drawings and paintings depict Pendlebury, Lancashire, where he lived and worked for more than 40 years, and also Salford and its surrounding areas.
He developed a distinctive style of painting urban landscapes peopled with human figures often referred to as “matchstick men”. He painted mysterious unpopulated landscapes, brooding portraits and the unpublished “marionette” works, which were only found after his death.