Over the past 20 years, street art has transformed from a practice of tagging and train-painting to a commercialised success that has taken the art world by storm. Once artists such as Banksy popularised the artform, the sale and purchase of graffiti became common practice, with street artists duplicating their works onto canvas for private enjoyment. But how does one go about buying these works of art?
CHOOSING STREET ART
The two main reasons to buy art are because you like it and because you hope to make money by reselling it in the future. If you are buying art as an investment, it is best to buy near the beginning of the artist’s career, just as they begin to move from the streets to the galleries. If, however, you are buying a piece out of love for the artform, you have a much greater variety of choices.
Look at what you are interested in, what you like, and what will look best in your home. To make an informed decision, it Is best to learn a little about the various techniques involved in the creation of street art and decide which is your Photos preferred type.
Street art comes in many different shapes and sizes, but some of the most common forms to look out for are murals, stickers, stencils and wheatpasting.
Murals are large-scale works, often taking up all or most of the wall they are painted on. They have grown in popularity since the introduction of legal walls, where artists are allowed to paint without fear of intervention by the police. This allows an artist to paint a much larger, more ambitious piece without having to rush or paint in the dead of night.
Stickers and wheatpastes are preproduced works of art, allowing artists to distribute them quickly, easily and subtly. Stickers can be reused name tags and labels or specifically produced prints on adhesive vinyl. Wheatpastes, meanwhile, are posters that are stuck to the surface using a mixture of wheat flour and water. Both styles produce bold images that can be duplicated and distributed easily. No list of street art techniques is complete without stencil painting, the preferred medium of Banksy, who is arguably the most notable street artist of our time. Stencil graffiti is created when stencil designs are cut out of paper or cardboard and transferred onto the surface using spray paint or roll-on paint. This method produces sharp images that can be reproduced numerous times with the same stencil.
BUYING THE ART
Once you have found the styles and artists you like, you are ready to actually buy the art. Websites such as Graffitistreet.com, whose primary focus is the sale of street art, and Saatchiart.com, who carry street art amongst its offerings, are useful for browsing a range of artists and styles. If you know whose work you are after, however, you may even find the pieces you are looking for on websites like eBay by entering the artist into the search bar.
If you are more interested in actually looking around a gallery before you buy a piece, there are a number of noteworthy galleries to consider, such as Urban Spree (Berlin, Germany), which has represented artists such as Julia Benz and Broken Fingaz, StolenSpace Gallery (London, England) with artists like Shepard Fairey and D*Face, and Urban Artroom (Göteborg, Sweden), boasting artists such as INKIE and Pablito Zago.
Buying art is not always easy, especially when that art is designed to reside on the street and not in a house or gallery. But if you know what you are looking for and where to look, the search becomes a little easier.
Be Free is one of Australia’s most recognised street artists. Based in Melbourne and active for many years, Be Free stealthily delivers playful splashes of colour via the adventures of paste-up girls. Walking the streets, you’ll discover her watering plants, sitting peacefully under an umbrella, holding up a rainfall, or just making a real big mess with her latest paints. Combining paste-ups, acrylics and spray, found objects and perfectly chosen locations, Be Free has travelled all around Australia, and to New Zealand and Spain.
Mr Cenz is a London based graffiti artist who has been scribbling on surfaces since 1988. His distinctive work can currently be seen all over streets of the world, especially in his hometown of London. It features layers of intricate and flowing letterforms, shapes and line work, which are abstracted in a unique and aesthetically pleasing way. His style is full of funk and movement and fuses different skills together such as realism and graffiti letterforms. His work is open to individual interpretation and has been described as “surrealist graffiti art for the soul”.
Louis masai has been living in London since 2010, bringing his fresh approach to nature and animals to London streets, galleries and homes. Louis’ works includes murals, prints, works on reclaimed wood, interior objects and sculptures. His central focus on animals is developed through themes such as land, water and air.
BANKSY Based in England, graffiti artist Banksy is also a political activist and film director of unverified identity. He brings satire and subversion into his artworks, combining at times dark humour with his now distinctive stenciling. His political and social commentaries have appeared on streets, walls, and bridges of cities around the globe. Inspired from the Bristol underground scene with artists and musicians, Banksy has boomed into a street art phenomenon. He displays his now highly recognisable art on walls and self-built prop pieces.
PEETA also known as Manuel Di Rita, is a graffiti artist since 1993 currently living in Venice. He is a member of Italian and American crews and has participated, over the years, in jams, festivals and art shows all around the world. His work explores the potential of sculptural lettering, both in painting and in sculpture. Peeta breaks letters from their generic typographical form, stylising them with shape and volume beyond its mere semantic function.
Akse is a French graffiti artist of Vietnamese origin based in Manchester, UK since 1997. Although Akse started by writing letters on his works, he quickly specialised in characters, and also freehand photo-realistic graffiti portraits. He was commissioned by the Football Association to paint a portrait of Wayne Rooney for Wembley Stadium to commemorate his goal-scoring record for England. Akse paints both murals and canvases.