There was a time when graffiti and street art were only considered acts of vandalism and testimony of the ill-mannered youth that was living in certain areas. Nowadays, more and more of us begin to look beyond our previous beliefs and start to appreciate the true beauty that lies on the cracked walls. The streets and facades have become blank canvases for artists who find themselves confined by the rigors of conventional art. Such is the extent to which our beliefs have changed, that legislation has been passed in some countries and states that make it possible to turn buildings into landmarks if and when the street art is so representative of the culture within a certain area or if the artist is notoriously famous and recognized worldwide for his talent and value.
Long Island City Graffiti Hub
This 200,000 sqft. warehouse tucked away in Queens is where New York City’s most stunning creations are displayed, works of now world renowned street artist Jonathan Cohen, being now known as the 5 Pointz building. Back in 2001 when the owner allowed Jonathan to cover his building with graffiti he did not know how much trouble it would cause him later on. Later on in 2013 he decided to demolish the building in order to create luxury condos, but the artist Jonathan Cohen intervened and asked another street artist, Bansky to speak on his behalf in order to save the building. A judge delayed the demolition for 10 days, then the artists obtained another 14 day delay of the demolition proceedings because of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act. On November 19, 2013, the building was painted white in one night, thus the demolition protection was lost together with the beautiful pieces of art.
We have already presented many of Banksy’s works, but there are more worth mentioning. Nowadays Bansky is so notoriously known that his works of art are being sold for more than $1 million. When he created the Geisha silhouettes in New York City, the building owner immediately realized the value of the recently created piece and took action right away so as to prevent the artwork from being defaced. The building wall was soon covered with Plexiglas, there was a rolling metal gate installed and security guards were soon hired to protect the building 24/7 (security guards with a $200 shift). To date, the Geishas and the 9/11 tribute in Tribeca are Banskys only two surviving pieces to have remained unscathed (whether this makes them even more valuable is yet to be determined).
Street Art of Daikanyama
Daikanyama is situated in central Tokyo and while some associate it with embassies and shops, its true treasure is to be found in the breathtaking pieces of street art and graffiti covering its walls. Corners and parking areas, walls and trains are all covered by exquisite and colorful works of talent and imagination made by unknown artists. It seems to perfectly capture every beat, sound and sigh of the city. With underpasses leading pedestrians into the deepest oceans, with mermaids and fish, you’re bound to get lost among the beauty these artists have created.
Image Credits: flickr.com