SEVERIANO GARZA'S STREET ART AT THE GRAFFITI PARK IN AUSTIN, TEXAS. PHOTO CREDIT: OLIVIA SIEGEL
by Olivia Siegel
Walking down a city street, the dull cement and steel buildings blend into the world around you when you meet a blast of vibrant spray paint. Street art, the simplest display of some of the most complex creativity.
Street art has broken out of its partnership with graffiti over the past several years, becoming more esteemed as a professional level of artwork, pushing away from the label of vandalism.
Street art has provided an entirely new outlet for artists, no longer confined within the expectations of galleries and museums. They are able to publicly express themselves and reach a whole new audience outside of the credited museum would.
Severiano Garza, Chapman alum, has taken his love for street art to a humanitarian level. Garza paints the faces of local homeless people in his hometown of Austin, Texas. His art makes a statement in the most powerful way, using the gift of the street as a way to reach more viewers, bringing their attention to the growing problem that is homelessness.
In his TED Talk Garza explained, “I’m not trying to get people to give them money I not trying to accomplish anything other than letting them know they’re there.”
Garza uses his art as a more powerful force than his own actions saying, “Sometimes when you come up with an idea, people will take your idea and make it better. I think there are a lot of incredible people out there…that can come up with ways to solve homelessness; I'm not the guy to do that. But I will paint one of my friends on a wall so that you know he’s there.”
The benefit of street art is the ability to reach a completely different group of people than the one the credited art world sees. There is no larger population than the general public, nor a more accessible canvas than the streets.
This past August, members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America put on a project called “Art Everywhere” where they created reproductions of exhibits from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney and various other museums.
Works by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Any Warhol, and Grant Wood lined bus stops and city streets all over the nation. This project created the largest outdoor art show every conceived.
The official website states the purpose of Art Everywhere was to create “chance encounters with great works of art to reflect the story of our country, encourage everyone to visit their local museums, and start a national conversation about the importance of nurturing creativity in our schools and in our daily lives.”
Street art has created the largest artistic community our society has ever seen. It not only allows for the increase of creativity without the restrictions that artistic institutions set out, but it allows for a much larger group of people to be exposed to art.