Photography Turns Street Art and Murals into a Complete Urban Collage
With Los Angeles street artists embracing the use of traditional murals to engage public spaces, it gives Writing on the Wall a good reason to look closely at individual works in Southern California. As we have seen, how a mural came to be, or how an artist approaches a space, adds backstory to a wall and its surroundings.
When one takes a closer look at murals through a photograph, it shows how they share space with the immediate environment — and begins to resemble early 20th century photo-montage collage. The installation becomes an assemblage.
Or in the case of street art, the wall as random public space takes on a major characteristic of visual fragments within a collage. It becomes a found object.
With or without that creative strategy of using fixed environment as part of the overall image, a photograph makes an additional transformation the public space reality, sometimes in conflict with the artist’s intentions.
Motive and artist’s intent aside, the popularity of this form of public art is based not only on street art’s rebellion from the disenchanted, or the storied tradition of cultural identity in ethnic murals, but also the camera. Through photographs, seeing a mural isn’t just a street experience; it’s a shared experience that also extends the potentially limited shelf life of street art and graffiti.