In the past and still today, street art is seen by some as simply graffiti on house faces, trains station buildings, and electrical boxes, but it is also considered by others to be its own form of art. Those people who walk through the city streets with their eyes open will be sure to come across some quite zany motifs. Of course, not all graffiti found on city facades is considered to be art. From larger than life portraits to distorted caricatures, abstract shapes and letters, street art can come in many different forms. More and more street art is being viewed as an enrichment of the oft grey and monotonous concrete jungle instead of just a pollution of public space.
When viewing street art, you’ll find works with various styles and made with different techniques.
We’ll show you 6 of the most typical as well as eccentric techniques used by street artists that you should definitely be on the lookout for on your next trip to the city.
Everyone’s probably already seen some kind of advert or election poster that has been defaced with small additions or with so many additions that the original image is no longer recognisable. If it wasn’t hastily done by a passer-by with a ballpoint pen or the like, then this is considered to be ad-busting. This style of art is particularly used to provocatively alienate adverts in public spaces. Here, posters are pasted or painted over in order to make the original message humorous or a complete contradiction to what was originally intended. Ad-busting is dedicated to critiquing adverts and the media as a whole and has been part of the street art scene for over 40 years.
In addition to outlandish motifs that are found in various forms around the city, cut-outs are often only noticed when you take a second look. These usually only take up a smaller section of the motif and are somewhat secretly integrated into the cityscape. The (mostly black and white) cut-outs can take the shape of animals, people, as well as any other object. You’ll see things like only the hands of a figure trying to climb out of a letter box or the eyes of an animal that appear to be viewing the passers-by from a gap in the wall.
If an artist wants to spread their own personal signature or logo as far and wide around the city as possible, then stickers are one of the most popular forms of street art used to accomplish this. A short slogan or a memorable motif can be easily and inexpensively duplicated and then stuck on surfaces around the city in no time at all. Instead of having the stickers printed out, many artists also use parcel labels. These are abstractly designed with stencils, coloured pencils, or stamps and then stuck on bus stops, street signs, letterboxes, and many other places.
The roller technique can most often be found on larger surfaces. As the name suggests, this kind of street art is made by using paint rollers. With the help of telescopic rods, hard-to-reach places like the undersides of bridges and house facades can be reached. Since it’s difficult to create detailed and precise motifs using a paint roller, this technique is mostly used to paint short slogans or sayings in large letters.
A very creative and somewhat less common expression of street art is yarn bombing. Here, cars, street lamps, electrical boxes and the like are decorated or completely wrapped in yarn. Since this technique is extremely laborious and time-consuming (depending on the extent of the knitting), it rarely sneaks into the cityscape. However, if you see something that has been yarn bombed on your walk throughout the city, be sure to capture it on camera.
Large and extensive works found on old building facades are known as murals. They are especially impressive due to their enormous size and the fact that they’re usually done on legal walls (the artist gets permission from the property owner). It happens more and more often that the city will allow certain street artists to design and beautify large, colourless buildings, bridges, and walls found throughout the aging city so they can showcase their fascinating work. Some murals in certain cities have gained somewhat of a cult status and are counted as one of the local attractions.