A friend of mine posted a photo on Flickr/Twitter yesterday of a piece of street art in Mt. Pleasant, Vancouver. It was quite twee in a Banksy kind of way, and certainly not without merit.
At the time, I commented regarding my discomfort of the genre. I applaud the skill of many of the artists, and in many cases the humour used alongside their artistic skill. What makes me uncomfortable is that often permission is not sought to use these public spaces in this manner.
More and more, cities are explicitly calling upon artists to place their works prominently (and even get paid for them). Many of the examples of street art (even though skillful and/or humorous/thought-provoking) are done without permission in public (or even private) places. One man’s art is another man’s vandalism. Whereas one can forgive a piece of “official” art that one does not “get” or does not like, it’s quite another when a piece is daubed, no matter how skillfully, on a public space or even the side of ones house or fence.
I’m not totally decided on the matter. After all, much of the hard landscaping being “arted”, though official, is often ugly and had no more public consultation of its aesthetics than the unofficial work subsequently applied to it.
Here’s a site I “stumbled upon”, as well as a couple of my favourites from it.