Global Track is our bi-weekly street art column by Rhiannon Platt.
With the ever-growing Internet, what was once an artform governed by the rails of the MTA is now one universal “global track.” Termed by writer Nicer or Tats Cru and utilized in RJ Rushmore’s eponymous Virtual Art, the inclusiveness of the digitalization of public art brings together artists who would have otherwise not been seen outside of their respective cities. Mujeres Creando is one such example. The diverse group of women spray paint political statements throughout Bolivia. Political statements have been a consistent theme for many artists in 2013. From Swoon reflected on the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Jaz landed in Istanbul during Occupy Gezi, tailoring his mural to the political climate. Globally, artists have been unified by several emerging themes.
Image via Monica Canilao
Installations by Oakland-based Monica Canilao utilize folk aesthetics in her body of work. Found materials comingle to form structures that seem haphazard, but in reality contain a high level of detailed craftsmanship. The imagery created within parallels the beautiful imperfection seen in freight train monikers. In the past, Reverend, Nugz, Droid 907 and AvoidPi have all utilized similar visuals in their graffiti, giving their rollers artful, but imperfect typography. Folk art has existed in the isolated Appalachian Mountains for years in the self-taught citizens and coal trains that run through the cities. However, with ramblers Droid 907, these adventures have spread in a manner that is contradictory to the “global track” of the Internet. Operating off the grid, these craftspeople place an emphasis on the handmade. For Canilao, this means repurposing intricate webs of found objects into mixed-media pieces. In the case of Droid and AvoidPi, the pair forms a core group of individuals dedicated to the tactility of zines. Published in limited editions, these archives become not only a precious insight to graffiti’s most illusive individuals, but also a valuable token in the ever-digitizing global market.
As monikers focus on simplicity, other muralists have been working to push the boundaries of depth. One individual that has risen to prominence through the festival circuit this year is Escif. Based in Spain, the artist traveled to Montreal this year for MURAL Festival, introducing a depth that transformed the surrounding space. Barré, meaning blocked in the local French, depicts a three-dimensional lock. In Moscow, Mallorca, and Denmark Escif has continued his travels in experimenting with space in neutral tones.
Whether exploring the boundaries of the medium or the implications of meaning, public practitioners are continually testing the limits what is capable. To continue the discussion of the Internet’s impact on the street art, the final piece comes from Hyuro, who animated the sections of a recent mural in Copenhagen. Not only does the video make the work widely accessible, but alters how the mural is viewed. The deer becomes a lively figure galloping through terrains instead of the static character when viewed in person.