Street art is often in the wrong place.
It’s probably there for the right reasons, those reasons being that artists need and want to create public art in a situation where they are prohibited from doing so. So those artists seek out places where they can paint with less risk. This results in our alleyways, abandoned buildings, railway archways, back walls and site hoardings being painted, woven, pasted etc. Even ‘legal’ sites that allow artists access often tend to be unwanted, unvalued or temporary.
This is a shame. This is because it reduces the potential audience, simply by being less visible. It’s especially a shame when the artwork has a stated purpose. Like the work of ATM and Carrie Reichardt, Louis Masai and Jonesy. Art that has a goal, an objective, to change the mind of the viewer and create change within and through them.
If the art is trying to change the mind or behaviour of the viewer, it’s potentially effectiveness is reduced if it is hidden, or difficult to come across. If it becomes part of a street art trail, or something sought out by aficionados of a genre, it’s not creating impact, it’s closing a loop.
Following this logic through, street art that aims to change the behaviour of it’s audience needs to be where the most people are. Where most people spend most time. That’s not a Venn diagram that works well for opportunities to paint.
We’re trying to work out ways of solving this. We think art that has a goal to change people, needs to be in front of the most eyeballs that can be found.
In the small town where I’m writing this, the ‘trip generators’, in town planning language, that attract the most amount of people are the large and small shopping centres, the largest of which has an average of twenty thousand visitors per day.
How do we get to paint on the walls of H&M, The Coop, and Tesco? That’s the challenge.