Readers will know that I am a fan of street art and that past Bytes posts have featured street art without identifying the artists. As a change, I am going to post the works of selected street artists and give a brief bio, where known, of the artists concerned. Many of those works have been posted in Bytes over the years so pardon repeats, they are nonetheless interesting and worth a revisit.
The first in this series is English street artist Mobstr, who has been described as The New Banksy, but that is unfair because Mobstr has his own persona, style and subjects. Whereas Banksy makes a lot of his statements by juxtapositions of images, such as a young child working in sweatshop conditions to produce Union Jack flags, Mobstr frequently brings smiles by stencilled words interacting with the street art destroyers or with us who read the words.
I guess I think of public space in a city as the areas in which everyone is allowed physical access to. I am not sure if public space entails anything more than this. We’re indoctrinated with the belief that graffiti (or now known as street art) is a blight on our space yet the majority of us happily walk around the visual bombardment of advertising without a moment of questioning its justification. We’ll happily put a six metre wide billboard up on the side of a shop or house convincing you the latest innovative toothbrush will enrich your life yet when someone paints a picture on some brick we suddenly become offended. What is the difference between putting your image on the street via the means of a billboard or taking it into your own hands and spraying it on a wall? The billboard is legal and the spray paint image is not. Why? One is endorsed by money and the other by a creative spirit. I know which one wins out for me and ultimately which one creates the image I would rather walk around my city and look at.
The Curious Frontier of Red (Mobstr's title for the following saga).
A 10 month game of tag between the artist and the local council's anti-graffiti crew on the wall of an electrical substation . . .
“I hope [to] make people contemplate and smile a little. Existence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Anyone who can give me a reasonable explanation for it would have my undivided attention. Doing what I do helps to distract me from the daunting complexity that is reality."
(More of Mobstr's art in the future)