The problem with street art is that the city becomes a canvas for artists of all levels. It’s like an art museum where pieces by venerable artists hang next to five-year-old scribbles. All art is not beautiful. Too often, street art is unbearably awful, thus why so many consider it graffiti. The great street artists do something a child cannot do. They tell a story, cued by the urban landscape, reshaped into something new. Sometimes the simplest splash of paint can turn an otherwise gloomy corner into a delightful stretch of someone’s commute, as they search for that little Spiderman swinging randomly from the crack in a wall. Other artists consume entire walkways with clever techniques, transporting the common pedestrian’s experience into something extraordinary; a story for the rest of us to unfurl. These are those pieces.
25. Hear no Shadow See no Shadow
One street artist of some repute is Damon Belanger, who paints fake shadows on the ground, appearing to come from everyday objects. The shadows tell another story about the world around us. In this case, an ordinary parking station appears to be a monkey in disguise. If it’s social commentary, who’s the monkey? The person paying to park or the meter mandating the payment?
24. Bike Rack Band
Another creation of Damon Belanger, these bike racks are nothing special, just geometric pillars on which to lock one’s bike. Belanger lets those who pass by imagine that the racks live a secret life. They’re really pillars to a power-trio of robots who like to rock out 24/7, sun or no sun. Belanger’s art kind of spoils the racks, at least for anyone who appreciates his work. Can’t ruin the effect by using the rack to lock up a bike now.