The rise of Banksy on the world stage of unconventional graphic design is not the result of a twisted chain of events. Sure, Banksy is controversial enough by being an elusive person with enough courage to travel to war torn areas and create murals.
But for some time now, street murals have become the new form of artistic expression and the pride of the areas where they stand. While graffiti art was frowned upon (and removed) until very recently, right now people will proudly share the street art in their areas on the social media. There are even online galleries for street art.
So, what is the new fascination with street artists and their unconventional form of graphic design?
Creating Beauty in Dreary Spots
The most impressive graffiti pieces are done in dreary slums. Their artistic value is given by their perceived role of beautifying an otherwise unpleasant, dull and dirty building. This was the main reason for street art – people were tired of seeing the same peeling and faded rendering on the walls.
However, among the usual tribal and gang signs and drawings, true works of art can be found. It is undeniable that there is talent for graphic design in some of the most popular graffiti pieces, as you can see in these examples:
There is composition, thought process and idea – the elements of good graphic design. Some of the street artists may have evolved into graphic designers and produced great works. We will never know, because they never sign their pieces.
Glorifying Pop Culture
Some of the most recognizable graffiti pieces depict iconic comic strips characters, famous movie scenes or legendary entertainers. This is a form of fan art taken to a huge level of dedication and thus prone to an endless wave of support and popularity. Who would object to a Batman or Bob Marley graffiti on their outside building walls?
The First Superstars
Jean Michel Basquiat was the first graffiti artist who legitimized this form of drawing. His works now sell for millions of US dollars and he is a legend (also due to his early demise at the age of 28). However, he is the one who paved the way for the acceptance of graffiti as a form of art.
Stepping right into his shoes, Banksy combines street arts with political manifestos. His penchant for travelling into high risk areas, such as the Gaza Strip and Syria has added to his fame of fearless fighter for human rights through art.
And like it or not, but his graphic design works on crumbling walls is getting more and more attention. At the heart of the most recent scandal is a door painted by Banksy in Gaza.
The owner of the former house of which only that door was standing was tricked into selling it for the equivalent of $175 – and the whole world exploded in outrage. This is the new level that street art has reached. We cannot deny that it is a form of graphic design and that it already has its pantheon of superstars.