Monday, September 17, 2007

Blu (Mike S's pick)

1. Blu is a street artist/graffitist/muralist and colleague of another street artist who came to speak with my contemporary art history class last term.

Blu focuses on creating murals in public spaces. His work is characteristic of graffiti art in many ways, mainly in that it exploits public property in a transformative and cultural sense. But while mainstream graffiti culture is focused on territorialism, by way of tags for example, Blu chooses to focus on imagery and the transformation of space.

Blu and others in his vein would describe themselves as a “street artists” not “graffiti artists.” The implications of this distinction fascinate me. Under this term, they are artists in the same sense as a painter, photographer or sculptor is an artist. They have the same concerns as mainstream artists might, towards content, authorship, aesthetic beauty and so on, but instead of the canvass, gallery or museum, the vehicle is a public space and permission to alter it is necessarily left unattained. The street artist is concerned with transforming the meaning of a space and the way people see and use it. Any art, undeniably, transforms the context it is placed in whether on the street, in the home, or on the white gallery wall. Street art brings this process to the forefront in a new way for me. Uncommissioned works of art on a building create a confrontation. Who is responsible for contributing to the spaces we all share? We tend think of ownership in terms of physical property, yet we constantly contribute to spaces, even in physical ways by our presence or lack of presence and the actions we take. Blu works with paint and brush, rather than Spraycan. He has worked all over the world, as you will see on the above webpage

Here are a couple of my favorites:

2. Of the other artists posted here, I would compare Blu to Martha Rosler. Both her and Blu are dealing with construction of social meaning, though in very different ways and on different cognitive levels.


Greg Thielker said...

Pretty hot stuff. Its impressive how just by using these larger than life characters he makes the whole space transform into a kind of alternate realm. In images, they have a bizarre quality- like a film that has both animation and live action. Have you seen any in person? Do people notice them?

Seah said...

This artist has been featured on Wooster Collective a few times. Wooster Collective is a blog on street art. No affiliation with Worcester, unfortunately.

Mike Seidman said...

Re: Greg:
I haven't seen any in person, only a few of his colleagues works, RUN. RUN is a similar artist, doing large figurative graffiti murals. i found that most people do not take notice because they see it in their everyday routines and become numb to the unchanging variables. tourists in Florence seemed to notice but tried not to visibly pay attention. I never saw other people photographing witty graffiti like i did.

that website is so cool. so many amazing stunts/art projects.