It would be an understatement to assert that street art, which emerges in all (in)conceivable sorts and sizes, is multifaceted. Indeed, painted surfaces of huge proportions are alternated with interventions on a human scale. Abundant use of colours and materials is side by side with aesthetic minimalism. Imaginative images are interspersed with realistic depictions while visual jokes are juxtaposed with serious messages.
When street art emerged at the turn of the twenty-first century, it was revolutionary in the sense that it concerns art that is not intended to end up in a white cube – typically a place where an admission fee is charged, where you have to keep your distance to the works exhibited, where attendants keep an eye on you and where taking pictures may not be allowed. Instead, it is art meant for anyone to enjoy without restriction.
It’s hard to find a draughtsman, painter, sculptor or street artist who hasn’t followed the example of artists from earlier periods. More often than not, works of art have been (partly) inspired by other works of art, it’s safe to say. In all its diversity, street art has not only been influenced by many other art movements, but is itself also full of references to art.
For many graffiti and street artists, a self-invented cartoonesque figure has become a trademark. KBTR and Oxalien are two glaring examples. In fact, they’re the names of both the silly figures as well as the artists themselves. The hot-tempered dwarf with his red pointed hat and the inflated bubble of pink chewing gum with horns and sharp teeth have, oftentimes together, spread across large parts of the Netherlands like a virus.
‘‘Get outta here, a page full of cat pictures? How dare you come up with that and how do you think you'll get away with it?’’ Well yes, that's what I've been asking myself too... On a World Wide Web that is ceaselessly inundated with honey-sweet and quasi-comical cat content, this contribution can just as well be omitted, right? Or cannot at all be missed? Who shall say?