Aberration: ‘departure from what is normal or accepted as right; a moral or mental lapse’: from The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary. Also, my latest drawing.
When I am on city streets hunting down inspiration with my weapon of choice (my camera) one of the subjects I look out for is street art. It isn’t necessarily easy to find, depending on how industrious aberrant artists have been, combined with the vigilance of local councils to clean it off. In Paris there must be quite an effort to discourage street art as it seems to be annihilated soon after installation. I feel fortunate if I capture examples of this furtive artistic practice. Now and then I want to give permanence to a temporary public image by making a drawing of it (inasmuch as a drawing may be considered permanent).
Plain old tagging is ghastly but street art may be humorous, stylish, chic, confronting, thought-provoking, clever and/or valid fine art. Perhaps it is just something to cause an inward chuckle. Maybe it has a social or political message. Whatever it is, if I see it, I scrutinize it, weighing up its value to me as a spectactor. Might I, as an artist, want to make my own art from it?
You may look at this drawing and wonder why anyone would want to draw a picture of torn images on a dirty and decayed wall. Well, why wouldn’t you think that; even more so when weather and time have caused partial degradation of the artwork. Yet there is something about the smiling woman, her 1950s outfit and the warm colours and textures of the surfaces. The paste-up of the woman has elegance and wit about it. The head to the left of the woman represents Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols. His presence in this tableau suggests rebellion and punk culture. I am pondering over concepts of beauty and ugliness; which is which? How does one draw the line between one and the other? Can art attract and repel simultaneously?
It is all gone of course…long ago washed away by cleaners. I saw it, captured it and drew it. Is it art? Is it art as a drawing? Was it art while it was displayed on a Saint Germain des Près wall? Am I deluded? What do you think?
I invite you to cross to my page Subject 4: Street Art to see a selection of street art drawings from 2003 to the present.
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