Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guerrilla Art 101

Ok people, here's the drill, this week we are talking about facing our fears and building community by bringing our work out into the open and straight to the people.  Who says we need a gallery show to be  artists, or a stage to be performers?  As creatives we are often insecure about sharing our work with others, but hiding it away from everyone for too long is often just as bad for us.  One way to get out into your community and start sharing your artwork is guerrilla art.  No, there are no gorillas involved in this process (although I suppose there could be hmmm…. intriguing….).  And no you are not required to do anything illegal.  To guide you through the magical land of guerrilla art, I've created a little guide for you of just a few ideas, ranging in intensity (and thereby also in illegality) so you can find the perfect fit for your creative personality type.  Hopefully this will help get you started on your challenge this week and lend you a bit of inspiration!

Land/Nature Art

Andy Goldsworthy
Nature art is probably the safest bet for anyone just wetting their feet in the world of Guerrilla art.  It's mostly legal (as long as you aren't being destructive or trespassing on private property), relatively risk free, and usually done with little to no audience present.  Done properly it is some of the most moving and inspiring work you will ever see.  For more inspiration check out the works of people like Andy Goldsworthy, Jim Denevan, Patrick Dougherty, and Richard Long.

Flash Mobs

You've probably already seen them on youtube everywhere, but if for some reason you've been living under a rock lately, a flash mob is really just a group of people all getting together at the same time, in the same place, to do some sort of performance piece in public together.  For the most part this is pretty legal and safe, however, depending on the location and type of performance peice you may need to ask for permission first.

By the way, who says flash mobs have to be singers or dancers?

Street Performances

I live about two hours from downtown Nashville TN and let me tell you, it takes guts (or a lot of booze) to grab your guitar, or your harmonica, or your Melodica (it's a thing I swear, I just saw a guy playing one on a corner last night honest to God) and stand on a street corner pouring out your music while people wander by... or stumble by.  For the most part this is also pretty legal and safe.

If you haven't already seen this video, you should watch it. Joshua Bell is one of the most talented violin players in the world and they put him in a subway station playing one of the most difficult pieces you can ever preform.  Read the amazing article all about it HERE.

Chalk Art

Chalk, it's not just for hopscotch people! Chalk is a fantastic medium for the more conservative guerrilla artist, you can still make a big statement, on the ground, on a wall, wherever, and if somebody hates it, it just washes off with water.  Most people are pretty cool about chalk art, but again be smart about where and what you a drawing.  If you draw a swastika in front of a synagogue, that's not going to go over so well.. just be smart people.

Guerilla Gardening

Here's where things are going to start to get fuzzy people.  Guerrilla Gardening is actually really fun and a really really low
key form of guerrilla art.  For the most part everyone is pretty excited about artists bringing a little beauty into the word by planting things.   Especially when you do it in an area that is really lacking in aesthetics or green stuff.  However, don't go around digging in grandma's prized flower bed if you are looking to stay under the radar ok?  For tons more info and inspiration check out www.guerrillagardening.org!

Yarn Bombing

Street Artist Jessie Hemmons
If you have a talent for knitting, crochet or just soft fuzzy yarn in general this might be your thing.  Yarn bombing (or knit graffiti as it's sometimes known) can be political, it can be heartwarming or it can be just plain funny.  You can do anything from show a sense of warmth and care for your environment to making large political statements, all with yarn.  Now if we get down to it, this isn't strictly legal since technically you are defacing public property.  However, for the most part people rarely care and if they do the project is usually so easily removable that people calm down pretty quick and get over it.  Just be warned ok?  If you want some inspiration, THIS SITE has some really really great stuff documenting Philadelphia's knitted street art.

Hard Core Guerrilla Art

Guerilla Art By Banksy

Alright, now that we've covered all the mostly legalish forms of guerrilla art, here are some example of what can be done by the more bold among us.  Most of these are going to be considered defacing public property, and seen no different by the law than say plain old gang related graffiti, so be warned and participate at your own risk.  The master of this genre of art is probably a dude named Banksy.  If you haven't heard of him go do a google search right now, seriously.  However, there are thousands of amazing street artists in the world today doing some really amazing work.  Try checking out www.streetartutopia.com for some great inspiration!

If you want to hear more about just how much impact this kind of art can have on the world and society take a listen to this TED video!

Alright, so there you have it, everything you need to know to decide what kind of Guerilla Artist you are!

Did we miss anyone that is your all time favorite street artist?  If so, drop us a line in the comment section and let us know who inspires you and your art!

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