Street art is a common form of self-expression and is ever prevalent in our world. This art form can take forms ranging from singing, dancing, performing, or physical art. The most notable or common in different areas is physical art, this art can be present on buildings, the sidewalk, virtually anywhere. Think of the graffiti you see in any urban center, that is considered street art. However, this is considered an illegal act, vandalism to be precise.
This article is not to speak to or contest the legality of graffiti or painting in public spaces. It is to speak to the gross disparity between lesser known artists and the consequences they are faced with when caught doing such an act. These penalties can range from community service, fines, or even jail time. Yet the artists who are well known when doing the same are given the leeway to create without the risk of criminal charges.
The most predominant of whom is Bansky. For example, Banksy was brought to trial regarding vandalism and his art being put up on any given building with no prior permit. However, he was let go and won the case. The reason for which was his international recognition, because people knew him and he is considered a prolific and famous artist the court allowed him to continue to create his art.
This brings to light an important thought to consider, how are we able to judge whose art is good enough to be presented on the streets. As having a city or area where people can create and express themselves creates a far more diverse sharing of thoughts and opinions. This can often lead to a community that is challenged in their day to day lives to think and consider new perspectives. It would be beneficial for the whole population. I digress, as I am not here to speak to enabling or banning this art form rather to the conflicting laws and grey area that is given to people who are famous or well-known artists.
In this instance the laws or lawmakers should decide on one side, if someone like Banksy is doing something illegal, it should still be considered an illegal act rather than giving him a pass to make anything. The reason his art was impactful as it was is due to the fact that he was doing something illegal. Should people be accepting and looking forward to his random installations then the original message and impact of his art is lost. Similarly, to how it is viewed for people with less recognition, much of the meaning of the art would be lost should it be more widely accepted.
In short, this essay was meant to point out the injustice that the artists who are more widely accepted are allowed to and given the freedom to do the same street art as others who are punished for doing so. Rather than giving leeway to people based on their renown it should all be considered the same as it is at its core the same action.