Art of The State has over recent months been featuring progressively less and less street art. It’s not something I’ve shouted about, I’ve just become disengaged with a scene that is full of advertising and money, legal walls and the same pictures reproduced over and over again. These things are the antithesis of why I liked street art in the first place – I loved the giving of something for nothing, the illegal placement and the unexpectedness of it all. Now these values are the exception rather than the rule. Commissioned and permission granted walls dominate London, street art brands appear next to works, artists have agents and only sell their works through recognised channels. It’s a far cry from the chaotic and sporadic nature of early street art. I guess it’s a natural progression of sorts and its understandable that artists who can make good money would choose to do so. Its just that its got so, well, predictable and safe. We’re living in the age of the mega wall, of art produced and marketed directly at those with large wallets, exclusive previews and arts funded commissions with limits on expression attached. Some of this art can be great art but really, where’s the edge? The truth is you have to look a little harder,put in some leg work, really concentrate on your surroundings to find the little pieces that will reinvigorate your interest once more. Vandalog have been doing this as an experiment over the last month through a policy of only featuring illegal work throughout August. RJ from Vandalog provides a very interesting account of what happened and what he learnt here. I like the idea and I respect him for following through on it despite the fact that he no doubt had lots of emails about legally painted walls dropping into his inbox during this time. Truth be told I nearly missed his post on the subject because in recent months I haven’t always felt the need to open up the daily Vandalog street art email any more just to read about another wall painted with permission. I do still like Vandalog, it’s still relevant and the passion shows through. It’s still so much better than the current Wooster Collective which at the moment seems fixated on bigging up their name as purveyors of street art as if no websites featured this stuff before they arrived on the scene.
I just hope the lessons of the last month mean that in future I’m going to find out more about genuinely surprising things that are not just part of some elaborate teaser marketing campaign. You never know it might inspire me to get out and about a bit more often to document what’s going on.