Besides the really cool work showing up on our streets, part of the allure of new street art is the mystery of who did it and how. Depending on how anonymous an artist or group of artists try to be, it can be hard or impossible to find out who is responsible for some of our favorite creations. Right now, Chicago has a mystery on its hands, and it involves a pretty familiar board game character. It’s not the work of Alec Monopoly, but this art brings the Monopoly man back to life in some really cool ways on the streets of Chicago.
Street art lovers in New York may have noticed a familiar childhood icon working the turntablelately at the Bowery. The Monopoly man, practically artist Alec Monopoly’s signature, now graces the giant mural that is the EMM Group’s future home. The jolly tophatted man is also known as Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, and while most of us might remember him as Monopoly’s mascot, he became a symbol of the times in Alec Monopoly’s creative hands. When the economy officially tanked and executives living in excess were still lining their pockets, Alec Monopoly took to the streets of L.A. and expressed more than what we could with words through the childhood mascot.
Picking up on Wednesday’s theme of awesome and inventive new street art is Mademoiselle Maurice. The French artist creates work that’s bursting with color and life all over the streets of Paris. Unlike a lot of other street artists, however, Mademoiselle Maurice doesn’t work with paint. She hasn’t touched a spray paint can, but her notoriety is spreading like some of the greats. Instead, Mademoiselle Maurice creates beautiful shapes and patterns for the public using just origami paper.
The dawn of computers and the internet caused a stir in the art world some years ago. The gradual move to digital art and digital photography with the help of Photoshop made a lot of people feel like art would lose a piece of its soul. Computers have opened up worlds of creativity, though. It’s allowed artists and art lovers to play with their art in new ways. Art’s like food. Sometimes it needs to be played with and experimented with before it’s consumed. UK-based artist and designer INSA does just that and turns regular street art into art in motion.
Some of the best and most entertaining art is the result of creating just for the fun of it. It’s the sort of feeling that created spontaneous art galleries, collaborations, and flash mobs. It’s art with joy and it bring a special charm to whatever it touches. We’re fond of installations that add a touch of humor and whimsy to a scene, and that is just what German-based artists Maria Luján and Wolfgang Krug created recently all around Berlin.
New York is one of the big hubs for graffiti artists. It’s no suprise, given the city’s history, terrain, and grey walls screaming for color. It’s rare, however, to suddenly find a mural gracing your street. D*Face is a U.K. street artist known for blending mediums and combining inspiration to create art for the public. Posters, stencils, paint, and stickers are among his arsenal of spray paint when creating a piece. This month, he’s brought all of that with him to the Big Apple and has left his mark in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Recently, the world lost one of the most influential people in modern technology. For better or worse, Steve Jobs shaped the way we used electronics. He changed the look of computering, making it sleek and more appealing to people who would never have normally given computers a chance. The iPod helped popularize MP3 players and completely changed the way people listen to music and how much they can take with them. It’s no wonder that he’s had a ton of tributes in the last few days.
With much street art, it’s the grand murals and big projects that grab the viewer’s attention. Slinkachu’s pieces, however, take a keen eye. His installations make the world better in very tiny ways. The scenes he creates star tiny dwellers in a big world. Often humorous or tinged with melancholy, his tiny figures are lifelike and full of character. Their scenes are a pleasant surprise for anyone who happens upon them.
Slinkachu creates his scenes by modifying the tiny figures of people made for train sets. He often repaints and repositions his characters, breathing new life into them. He then pairs them with both props and location. His art seems for the pensive. It’s easy to walk by one of Slinkachu’s tiny installations, but the scenes are worthy of more stares than many huge pieces. They are tiny marvels that Slinkachu has scattered across Amsterdam, Barcelona, Manchester, Norway, Rotterdam, and Italy.
Graffiti has had a long history of being vilified in inner cities around the world. Even the best looking murals have been seen as lowly, criminal and dirty in years past. While tagging public property is illegal and wrong, the generalization that all street art and graffiti art is just that--not an art--is problematic. Graffiti artists have brought art to communities who can’t afford regular trips to museums or galleries. Graffiti has also turned ugly, broken down buildings, into something its tenants and neighbors can enjoy seeing.
French artist OaKoAk has made the daily routine’s drudgery into something fun. Working in creative ways with his or her surroundings, OaKoAk whimsically transforms regular streets into funny and cute pieces of art.
Unlike many street artists, OaKoAk’s method always incorporates an element that is already present in the scene. It’s a twist in viewers’ expectations that perhaps makes this one of the most exciting and pleasant forms of street art. A crack in the wall can be a web-line for Spider-Man. A set of stairs can become a piano! A fire hydrant can be an adorable face.