Recently i've been writing my dissertation for my final year at uni, and i've decided to write about street art, and the positives and negatives in how Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat have influenced the aesthetics of it. I am also planning to question why graffiti is a crime, and discuss the differences between creating art in the street, and creating something exactly the same on a brick wall inside a building or gallery. I thought i'd give you a snippet of my intro as it has a little about my past and present art influences and ideas, plus i added a few art works, old and new:
The past year has taken my art through a dramatic transformation. I found what art I was influenced by and what style truly suits me. Ever since my A Levels, 4 years ago, I have been interested in the aesthetics of street art. I used to paint photos of graffiti that I had seen first-hand – complicated and simple, all painted by my friends. I would mix different scenes with different graffiti in an almost perfectly neat style.
Untitled - Acrylic on foam board, A3, 2010
From then on, I changed my style to a more rough-and-ready, Rauschenberg like style – dabbing leftover paint in random places, using and materials I found. My subject matter changed from portraits, to textured landscaped, to fashion magazines and collages, all the while keeping my painting style influenced by the crumbling bricks of those spray painted back alleys. My current art work consists of bleached film photographs that I collage images from magazines onto, with themes of popular culture.
From a collection called 'Impulse' - Collage on photo paper, 4x6 inch, 2013
I also have been making similar paintings for the past year with a mix of collage and paint as a base, with wild brush strokes and spreading of paint with a ruler, to create an uneven crumbling effect with acrylic paint. I would usually create a main focal point taking the rule of thirds into consideration, and either collaging bold text with an unrelated phrase, or a graffiti-esque stencil made from a silk screen print and a powerful portrait of a woman. Mainly when I use text in my work, like in my mixed media paintings, I pick them out of a magazine or newspaper purely for convenience and for the aesthetics – font, text or colour. When people see my work, their eyes take them straight to the text and they read. My aim, by choosing mismatched sentences is to bring the focus more to the pure technique of paint and aesthetics of collage mixed with paint, pen or ink. Another idea of mine is to let the audience’s mind wander. Maybe they will find an interesting story about my work which only they will see. Maybe the unrelated word relates to them personally and sparks up an old memory or makes them see an image in my blurred paint. A like-minded artist from the 1980s art word, Keith Haring once stated his ideas behind his work:
“I am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached. The viewer created the reality, the meaning, the conception of the piece. I am merely a middleman trying to bring ideas together.”
Keith Haring Painting
Before reading Haring’s book recently, I was quick to judge his cartoon like simple stick figures and unusual imagery, but now I understand his work, I am fascinated in Haring’s life, style and ideas, and plan to share his ideas in my future art work for my final year. My other main influences are Jacob Kolding, Robert Rauschenberg and Kurt Schwitters.