WebUrbanist Alternative Urban Art Guide
Broadly defined, ‘alternative art’ is by far the most popular subject on WebUrbanist – or at least the one about which we are the most prolific. What do we mean by ‘alternative’ in this case? Well, stuff you will not likely find in museums unless the artists illegally hung them on the walls there (yes, we do have one such artist). In this collection you will find incredibly unusual approaches to graffiti, various forms of guerrilla street art, extraordinary art made from ordinary objects and much much more.
Alternative Street Art and Graffiti Galleries
Street art and graffiti are not limited to the typical forms of tagging most people think of when they hear the work. Light artists illuminate the night around them then leave no trace behind them. 3D painters often work in the open without the normal fear of a subversive street artist. Geek and other alternative graffiti artists like Banksy turn traditional approaches upside-down and raise essential questions about the nature of art.
Light Graffiti and Art Gallery: Light art can be subtle, sublime and surreal or it can be gritty, urban and spontaneous. It can be a calculated art requiring a great deal of preparation or the expression of creative individuals captured in time by photography.
3D Graffiti and Art Gallery: Some 3D street artists work subversively while many operate in the open, painting sidewalks, entire blocks and building walls with depth and illusion. The best 3D graffiti artists bring two-dimensional urban canvasses to life.
Geek, Temporary and Reverse Graffiti Gallery: Geek art takes as many forms as its artists have approaches, from digitized spray-painting and physical hyper-linking to remote-control robotics and digital pixel-writing, the art of geek graffiti grows as technologies evolve.
Banksy Graffiti and Art Gallery: Banksy is without a doubt the world’s most notorious street graffiti artists but rarely are his works and locations so carefully collected and completely documented. Here you will find out about who Banksy is, his graffiti, drawings and stencils, his tattoos, photos and prints, his art sold and for sale, his interviews, films and videos, his books, websites and forums, his best quotes and sound bites and the locations of his art around the world.
More Unusual Street Art and Graffiti
Sometimes the art of graffiti is in the commentary it makes on other graffiti or on politics, pedestrians and the performance of art itself. Other times it creates new relationships between the traditional art world and world of street art. Like the galleries above, these articles feature uncanny, extraordinary and otherwise norm-defying examples of graffiti and street art.
The Graffiti Report Card Project: The public often thinks of graffiti in binary terms – art or vandalism. The reality is more complex.
The Secret Art of Graffiti Removal: Almost as (or perhaps) more ubiquitous than graffiti itself are those patches of paint to cover it up.
Graffiti Representations of the Mona Lisa: Street artists take a classic figure and reinterpret her visage in original and offbeat ways.
Disappearing Murals of Belfast: These street murals tell the turbulent history of a war-torn region and are slowly being erased.
Alternative Art of Pedestrian Crosswalks: Zebra stripes are only one way to put paint to pavement and create ways to cross the street.
Twisted Street Furniture Sculptures: Brad Downey takes conventional forms and street furniture and twists them into knots.
Spontaneous Urban Street Performance Art: From subway parties to giant pillow fights, not all street art is individual or visual in nature.
Watch Graffiti and Street Art in Action: These videos slow down, speed up and show the often-hidden processes of graffiti art creation.
Guerrilla Marketing and Other Subversive Arts
Just like graffiti doesn’t have to mean vandalism, guerrilla art does not have to mean graffiti. Some guerrilla artists are in it for profit while other subversive artists are simply trying to convey a message, prove a point or improve the urban landscape around them.
The Ultimate Guide to Guerrilla Marketing: This 8-part guide to guerrilla marketing covers the history, evolution and everything else you could want to know about guerrilla marketing strategies and tactics. As it turns out, the key is not just creative guerrilla marketing campaigns – some of these can backfire too.
The Art of Shopdropping aka Droplifting: Quite simply, this is shoplifting … in reverse! Imagine marketing yourself by depositing something in public or planting free CDs in a music store, or making your point by creating and adding your own prices, labels or other embeleshments to existing products.
The Subversive Art of Subvertising: Subvertising is a way of breaking through and converting the message of ordinary advertising or using advertising channels to convey your own public service message. This can be done for personal gain, to alter a signal or message or to promote a good cause.
The Beginners Guide to Guerrilla Gardening: An art like few others, guerrilla gardening sounds so extreme and yet is so simple. Guerrilla gardeners plant in places and ways that are not technically permitted but that ultimately improve the quality of life for those who enjoy the fruits of the simple steps of their labors.
Extraordinary Art Made from Everyday Objects
For some, the challenege of making art is in the use or reuse of ordinary objects to create extraodinary works. Examples include egg shells, books and pencils, packing tape, toothpicks and nails, cell phones, hands and pushpins. Other artists recycle trash into art, from tin cans and abused appliances to trashed toys and entire houses.
Gun and Bullet Art and Sculpture: Once weapons of war, these pieces have been decommissioned and transformed.
Sand Art and Sculpture: These artists have raised the bar on something most people of as the artistic medium of a child.
Lego Art and Sculpture: Everyone’s favorite toy as a child has continued to evolve new possibilities as artists push its limits.
Playing Card Art and Sculpture: These artists have dealt us a peculiar hand – reworking something we all know and love.
Post-It Note Art and Sculpture: 3M probably never dreamed just how many uses the public would find for such a simple invention.
Book Artists and Sculptures: Cutting and pasting their way through the classics, book artists give new meaning to old volumes.
Paper Art and Sculpture: Papercraft comes in many forms and levels of details. This collection is a brief overview of an ever-expanding art form.
Cardboard Art and Sculpture: Its rigidity gives cardboard certain advantages over paper when it comes to artistic applications.
Money Art and Sculpture: At the end of the day money is simply very fancy (and often very valuable) printed and folded paper.
Artistic Cake Designs: Yes, you can have your cake, turn it into a work of incredible art, and ultimately you can still eat it too.
Artistic Lego Designs: LEGOs are certainly intended to have built-in allowances for artistic license but these artists push even those limits.
Twisted Stuffed Animal Art: These demented stuffed animal creations, transformations and inversions are anything but cute and fluffy.
Private Lives of Favorite Toys: Toys of war and peace can rapidly and cleverly be layered with meaning by transforming their context.
Other Offbeat Approaches to Urban Art
Of course, fitting art into a limited number of types or categories is always a challenge – such as interpretive works of art revolving around famous figures like George Bush and the Statue of Liberty. Here are some other classic WebUrbanist articles on various arts that do not feet neatly into the above categories.
Fantastic Alternative Photography Techniques: This article provides an in-depth introduction to some of the most strangest and interesting ways to take photos. Other articles cover creative alternative photographers, urban photography at different scales, cities at night, airports at night and other photography sites.
Creative Steampunk Fashion, Art and Design: Retrofuturism meets hi-tech creativity in these articles on Steampunk design and mods, hi-tech art and fashion and even at the strange and fascinating intersection of Steampunk and LEGOs.
Google Street View Images: While not precisely art themselves there is an a strange artist fascination that has arisen around pictures from Google Street View. Some of these are fascinating for the candid moments they reveal while others are interesting in aesthetically abstract way.
Featured WebUrbanist Artists: WebUrbanist usually focuses on a single type or art or artist for a given article but some artists warrant entire articles due to a wide and fascinating body of work. Included here are artists who have focused on driftwood sculptures, environmental photography, interior deconstructions, kinetic sculptures, light painting, balloon sculptures, miniature street art, macroscale street art, intriguing typography, panoramic paintings, souvenir photography and time-freezing photographs.