Art in the streets is human’s presence in the space that surrounds people’s daily lives. When I was little, I remember questioning myself “Why crosswalks are not coloured?”. I also always dreamed I was walking over on a zebra’s back. Street Art, despite rising oppressed voices, is needed to break the boredom of our pale metropolises. The Art on the Street simply goes further the grey shade raised from the merger of the black and white austerity, seriousness and bureaucracy-infused from the components of cities’ urbanisation.
At the end of the lecture “The Street Art,” I immediately headed towards the Millennium Bridge to see Ben Wilson’s artwork on the crossover that links the St’s Paul Cathedral Square to The Tate Modern Museum. Ben Wilson is an institutional artist whom works have been exhibited all around Europe and in some regions of the Unite States. However, he is also an outside artist, known for painting tiny pop images on chewing-gum forsaken on the streets. As soon as I arrived on the bridge, I noticed coloured spots on the iron crisscrossed path and instantly got scared by myself for not having seen it before, although I had crossed that bridge several times in the past two years. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. When people noted me staring at the floor, some of them have been rapidly enraptured by the precision and creativity laying on the ground, others just kept on ignoring the environs.
In the beginning, Ben’s ‘hobby’ gained attention from the authorities, but because he was not ‘damaging’ private property, but purely painting rubbish, he was legally acquitted.
These events brought media attention over Ben’s artwork all over the world and the documentary “Ben Wilson, The Chewing Gum Man” provided Ben’s Street Artist pseudonym.
Ben is repelled by industrial waste, cars and rubbish, therefore, his action of painting people’s left-over becomes his weapon to stand against environmental issues. However, Ben is not concerned by the fact that his little artworks are going to dissolve by natural erosion. He will continue to decorate chewing gums and pursues his ethics and social standpoint.
As Nicholas Riggle argues, “an artwork is street art if, and only if, its material use of the street is internal to its meaning” (2010) The association between Street Art and Art has always been questioned if either adequate or not. Ben’s ‘outside’ artwork demonstrates how street art is connected with the public, both space and people. His Street Art wouldn’t be considered as such if he wasn’t creating images strictly related to the shape that the gum takes after being pressed by people’s walk into the iron fissures of the Millennium’s pavement.
Street Art does not solely use components of the streets to generate its meaning, but it also enhances the intrinsic aspects of The Street itself: the everyday life and issues. Street Art embraces the human presence in the street. Thus, Street Art entertains and provokes people’s thought.
As humans, the Art in the Streets becomes blurred and dies. Like the fact that each individual might not be remembered throughout space and time, Street Art dissolves and will be forgotten. Street Art is the representation of the ordinary person as the Institutional Art symbolises the few elite of people that will be remembered throughout the centuries in the academic world. Therefore, Street Art uses the intrinsic meaning of what is means to be human for its intrinsic value.