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What is Street Art? Why is It Around? Jax Street Art.

Ok...... 'Street Art" is one of the most powerful art movements in the world today, and Jacksonville has spawned several truly great street artists. This however has not led to any real recognition of the art form, with the notable exception of the Five Points neighborhood, the underground studio scene in Springfield and the blog posts of Joey Marchy at UrbanJacksonville.info. The art form was allegedly banned from the Riverside Arts Market as well as the annual Festival for the same reasons that caused both Rock and Roll and Jazz music to be banned in 'tasteful' communities around the country in the last century. "Turn", Thursto, Tommy Armageddon (and some would include the Urbismo team) are probably some of the most exciting artists ever to come from our city and yet the art form that they practice makes their art 'unsuitable'. Maybe this is partially due to confusion about what Street Art is.

Published April 12, 2014 in Weekend Edition      21 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Street wheat pasting by Urbismus (photo by Joey Marchy, urbanjacksonville.info)

Street Art is any art developed in public spaces  including in the streets themselves.

It crosses a whole lot of mediums and genres and there are wholly different formats of street art with a completely different kind of person or groups that create them.



Thursto working on a peice


Thursto working on a peice


The term can include traditional graffiti, stencil work, stickers, wheatpasted poster art, projections, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations.


Street Art Poster, Tommy Armageddon Visuals


Street Art is totally separate from vandalism, dirty little wall poems and traditional gang territory marking.  When you say 'street art' or 'post grafitti' you mean the Art as opposed to the vandalism.



Interior Walls by Tommy Armageddon


In a way its a form of High Art for regular and every day people.  It's meant to challenge the idea that only galleries, museums and expensive loft parties can have and show art.   Its presented every single day to as many people who walk through the streets and there aren't any commissions, schedules, marketing people or 'aesthetics committees' to deal with.  The artist's work can be seen, appreciated and judged by everyone.



The Tunnel Graphic of TSI, by Tommy Armageddon


Naturally, the environment of the city that it is produced in strongly influences the motivations of the artists.   In some cities the art is very political.  In some vary colorful and multi cultured.  Some cities have extremely challenging social causes and anti corporate themes in the street art.




Tommy Armageddon work.

But the universal theme in all street art, is creating artwork which utilizes public space, and allows artists who may otherwise be cut out of the uppity art game, to reach a much broader audience than traditional art and the gallery/museum system normally allows

International examples of Street Artists who have crossed over into mainstream fame are of course, Shepard Fairey who did the Obama Hope posters (they each run a few thousand dollars right now) Banksy, Keith Haring and Basquiat, but it is a medium that has spread across the globe into every country and language.

There are a few better recognized artists locally.

Tommy Armageddon, Shawn Thurston (Thursto) and Urbismus.

Tommy specializes in Wheatpaste street art posters and installations, Thursto in traditional street painting with spray and brushes, and urbismus in Wheatpaste characters.


by Thursto


Wheatpasting by Urbismus


Tommy Armageddon, RegretMan posters.

Despite its roots in the Graffiti movement, Street Art has evolved.   Its an international movement that  has become more than just a random curiosity show,  political messaging system or even simple populist art.

These days it has taken off into more sophisticated directions and has attained the status of high art---and it is still evolving.

Take a look at MUTO (the video has made the rounds, but it gets better every time you see it.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/uuGaqLT-gO4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/uuGaqLT-gO4</a>

I think this video is an indication of how fertile with possibilities the genre is.  Certainly the interactive nature of the art with the environment transcends animation.  And although it is technically a street art installation piece, its only understandable when seen in the context of the video, so it transcends mere graffiti as well.

Locally we have some really great artists working in the street art medium---and there have been street artists working in Jacksonville for the past 20 years.

The greatest graffiti artist in the traditional sense ever to come from Jacksonville was "Turn"-- whose work and technique and massive collection of specialty spray nibs informed an entire generation of spray artists and can still be seen in the old Yard and on the few canvasses that he created while here in town.

But nothing in the way of local recognition in the press or archives, and certainly no trace that he existed within the framework of the gallery or museum system here.

So why arent these talented artists in the galleries, the Art Market, the Riverside Arts Festival and in the pages of the art publications?

Later generations will ask this same question.


Stephen Dare.
Published June 23, 2009







21 Comments

stephendare

June 23, 2009, 02:10:23 PM
Triclops.

Shanty Town has all kind of awesome street art in it.

Who did you murals?

They look like Wish's work, because of the animals, but the detail looks like Thursto.

(Thursto is in Atlanta now, incidentally)

Got any images to post, or discussion about the work or artists in Shanty Town?

obie1

June 23, 2009, 02:13:08 PM
Not to be rude, but who wrote this, it's the most confusingly written article I've ever read here. 

quote: "Street Art has evolved past even a simple curiosity,  political messaging system or even simple populist art."
What does this sentence even mean?

Also- "uppity art market" ?? Sounds like whoever wrote this article has a few axes to grind.

quote: "Turn, Thursto, Tommy Armageddon (and some would include the Urbismo team) are probably some of the most exciting artists ever to come from our city "

call me insane but I will bet $500 or an Obama poster that one of the artists listed in this sentence wrote this about themselves.

BridgeTroll

June 23, 2009, 02:27:59 PM
Ian probably has many more but...

http://www.myspace.com/shantytownpub

stephendare

June 23, 2009, 02:33:23 PM
hmm.  Ill take you up on that bet, Obie1.

You can drop off the $500 anytime.

I love the uppity art market.  (not to be confused with the Riverside Art Market, of course)  Ive been a part of it most of my life (going on 30 years now).  The galleries, the openings, the private sales that drive successful art--- it can all be kind of uppity.   I love them of course, but it does cut out some really great talent in the meantime.

I certainly have no axe to grind that I haven't at some point sunk into the skull of the subject that dulled it in the first place.  Surely the clenched teeth and chardonnay sipping stereotype is one of the great iconoclastic images of our time.

Thanks for the criticism of the sentence.  It was confusing.  See if you like it better now.

obie1

June 23, 2009, 02:54:48 PM
Thanks. Much better. The whole article makes more sense now. I will drop off my fake Obama poster soon. ;)

TREE4309

June 23, 2009, 03:14:44 PM
Shaun "Thursto" Thurston did a lot of the Shantytown work...

http://shaunthurston.deviantart.com/gallery/

obie1

June 23, 2009, 03:36:40 PM
I am curious- the Riverside arts festival banned screened posters, or they didn't want a wall dedicated to graffiti, or what? I know that burro bags and arturo had stuff there when I've been. How are they determining what can and can't be sold or do you just mean that they don't want street artists tagging walls and the bridge. Care to elaborate?

stephendare

June 23, 2009, 03:57:08 PM
Not really sure about that Obie 1.

I was told by one of the committee members that the aesthetics group (and this is not the one mentioned in the article above...most events around art in this town have an aesthetics committee) had unilaterally decided that 'street art' was out.

tom p.

June 23, 2009, 06:50:59 PM
i love street art it's good seeing someone talk about it positively. would like to see a new run of urbismus. i have to find out if   no street art work/artist is allowed in the arts market. i'm pretty sure the director isn't against it. arturo was there last week but they weren't selling posters.

JaxByDefault

June 23, 2009, 10:23:30 PM
Hee hee ... Just saw an artist putting up a wheat paste stencil and a couple of posters up in the area of the Riverside Arts Market today.  :D  Obviously some of it's getting past gatekeepers.

Ocklawaha

June 23, 2009, 11:40:17 PM
WANTED! Street artist to put art around JTA and City Hall with streetcars and streetcar conductors... Let's call it a reverse Transit Wrap! Skyway supports would work just great! Oooh I can see them squirm now!









OCKLAWAHA
"NEVER GIVE UP - NEVER SURRENDER!"

Charles Hunter

June 23, 2009, 11:46:09 PM
I guess it goes from "street art" to "vandalism" when it's on your property, and not someone else's!

Some pretty amazing artwork in the article, by the way.

JaxNative68

June 24, 2009, 02:48:42 PM
Can we street art all of the vacant lots to make them look as if they are inhabited?

shanshan1218

June 25, 2009, 12:10:00 PM
i have always enjoyed seeing the old couple and the punk rocker on the building. i didn't know there was such great artists behind this...

DeadGirlsDontDance

July 26, 2010, 02:50:19 PM
Seen in Riverside - love this one.

stephendare

September 25, 2011, 02:02:14 PM
Seen in Riverside - love this one.





Thursto working on a spray peice.

nomeus

April 12, 2012, 05:27:07 PM
Can we street art all of the vacant lots to make them look as if they are inhabited?

...do what they do in Detroit with vacant lots.....plant community gardens!

Bike Jax

April 12, 2012, 07:40:32 PM
We will be having a Street Art Scavenger Hunt as part of The Night Ride on May 5th. Street Artist get your game on.

Anti redneck

April 12, 2012, 08:05:47 PM
Watch city council say "no street art" like they did everything else.

5PointsGuy

April 12, 2012, 09:13:45 PM
On a similar front... I would like to see the city select locations that could use some sprucing up and have artists compete against each other to come up with plans to paint over the dull surfaces. My personal preference would be to have artists paint overpasses. The city could commission the artwork for probably pretty cheap (so long as the artist got to put their name on it). They could then coat the artwork with http://www.ppg.com/coatings/matthewspaint/forfabricators/application/Pages/graffiti_video.aspx and have all of the bland cement barriers beautified.

I think it would be a cheap and easy way to make the city look good. The first place I can think of? The overpass on Roosevelt that goes over Edgewood.

nomeus

April 13, 2012, 10:02:50 AM
On a similar front... I would like to see the city select locations that could use some sprucing up and have artists compete against each other to come up with plans to paint over the dull surfaces. My personal preference would be to have artists paint overpasses. The city could commission the artwork for probably pretty cheap (so long as the artist got to put their name on it). They could then coat the artwork with http://www.ppg.com/coatings/matthewspaint/forfabricators/application/Pages/graffiti_video.aspx and have all of the bland cement barriers beautified.

I think it would be a cheap and easy way to make the city look good. The first place I can think of? The overpass on Roosevelt that goes over Edgewood.

id support this if it was done proper
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