Walking through Shoreditch one chilly morning in early December, the last thing I expected to see on the streets was an angel of any sort, let alone the Angel Gabriel in all her Christmassy finery. But there she was, delicately perched on top of a bollard outside an office building and sparkling in the Winter sunshine. And she had a story to tell. But it’s not the one you might expect…
What is art? Big question, that. If you went out and asked a hundred passers-by, you’d probably get a hundred different answers. But most of them would probably mention things like paintings, sculpture and galleries, or would refer to famous artists or other well-known individuals and institutions within the art establishment.
All of those would certainly be valid answers to the question I posed above – but art doesn’t have to be confined by the gallery setting, just as it doesn’t have to be confined by our own or critical expectations and archetypes. And street art refuses to be confined by anything.
Street art is democratic art: literally the art of the street, and thus art for everyone, art to be seen by anyone. Sometimes political, sometimes philosophical, sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny, sometimes simply eye-catching. You don’t have to go to a gallery to see street art – or even be the type of person who visits art galleries in the first place.