We rarely see a wall that is free from any kinds of vandalism. It’s like these long stretches of bricks and cement attract would-be vandals and spray paint automatically. The things that are written on these huge canvasses range from gang names to profanity to inappropriate drawings and obscure references. However, every now and then, we get to see a drawing so well-made and good that it captures our attention. These drawings become less of vandalism and more of an art form and, in our eyes, look so out of place amidst the mixtures of crudely drawn inappropriate drawings and profanity that it shares space with. These things are commonly known as street art graffiti and are now becoming an art revolution around the world, especially in Russia.
Breaking Away from the Norm
It is quite difficult to differentiate those that are plain vandalism and those that are treated as street art. Street artists usually have a specific goal in mind and chose the streets to showcase their art. These artists challenge the contemporary way of thinking about art that is confined in art studios and the likes. By appealing to the masses and communicating closer with their target audience, they are able to reach more people and spread their message clearer to more people. In most cases, these artists have a strong sense of activism and subversion in their art which delivers a very powerful and striking message to the people. Still, other street artists view the urban landscape as a form of untouched space for personal expression. Others draw art that relates to a particular issue or current event and uses the streets as a way to communicate these thoughts to more people. Street artists have different reasons for doing this and also employ various methods to achieve their goals.
Street Art as a Cultural Movement in Russia
Although the act itself is either treated as an art form by some and as a kind of desecration by others in the country, these graffiti artists are a huge part of Russia’s underground movement. Nowadays, it is part of modern and mainstream art exhibitions and is somewhat accepted. Street art is very popular in Russia and has actually played a huge role in their culture and history. Moscow is slowly becoming the world’s central hub for Russian graffiti artists with many international tourists actually coming in to visit just to view them. Russian street art and graffiti is slowly becoming a tourist spot and is being acknowledged around the world. There is the Street Kit Gallery that opened way back in 2008. The 2009 Moscow International Biennale for Young Art even has a section dedicated for this kind of art form. Moscow’s Dream Energy graffiti festival actually encourages Russian graffiti artists to go wild with their creativity. Grammatika is another graffiti show in Russia that happened back in March 2012.
Art form comes in all shapes, sizes, kinds, and even locations. Sometimes a drawing on a wall is a simple vandal but sometimes, it holds much more meaning that what it looks. The street art scene is slowly gaining popularity all over the world as well; the long stretch of wall on the corner may soon become a canvass for an urban artist trying to send a message.