L’art Pour L’art: Street Art Giving Vancouver a Sense of Identity

Posted by Viola Chen & filed under Theatre.

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Photo courtesy of unintendedcalculations.wordpress.com

With summer being around the corner and the recent beautiful weather, I have started to notice the increase of graffiti and stencils that are covering the walls of Vancouver. Street art for me adds character to the city and sometimes it gives a little extra something to the dull urban environment. So I ask you this, when you see street art what do you think: an art or a crime?

Vancouver is considered a fairly young and contemporary city and for this reason, it just recently caught on to the street art trend. With more art street in the city, this just adds to Vancouvers’ image of being a hippie, hipster, and pedestrian friendly place. So why the sudden trend in street art in Vancouver and around the world?

With Wall Street, the Arab spring, and the protests in Montreal it seems like the new generation has an appreciation for the raw. We no longer want to be confined by the rules, the law or the authority. Simply, ehe feeling of openness and freeness is really appealing. Artists can choose to be anonymous, sneaky, and creative and certainly not confined by anyone. And at the same time their work can convey a powerful message.

My favorite street artist in Vancouver goes by the name Dark. For me Dark embodies my image of what an artist is. Dark’s work appeared on several corners of Vancouver and his or her stencils have very deep meanings of nostalgia, reality, and acceptance. Because of the powerful meaning and images behind Dark’s work I feel that he or she is reclaiming the streets.

‘Hope’ by Vancouver street artist Dark. Photo courtesy of flickr.com

You can check out Alife on Robson Street or Hope on the intersection of Kingsway and Broadway. Last year there was also a group of international street artists that came together to paint a mural on the walls of the Moda hotel. It was nice to see artists collaborating in the underground scene of street art.

What’s amazing about street art is that not only does it add character and a sense of identity to the urban environment but it also has the power to raise awareness of political and social issues. This summer I went to Egypt where I appreciated the graffiti that filled the streets and walls of Cairo. Slogans calling for the overthrow of the president and the military regime concealed the city.

For me street art is the perfect example of what l’art pour l’art is. It is certainly not a crime but a beautiful and powerful form of art. Art that is not done for money, political, social or cultural reasons, but simply because the artists wants to express a message on a canvass where there are no rules. It is a purely intrinsic and genuine form of art.

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