Street art has plenty of different variations: graffiti, stencils, sticker art, urban knitting, writings on walls, paste-ups, installations and many more. Basically any visual art that happens in the public realm of our streets could be classified as street art. It makes a city more colorful, can open up new perspectives or draw attention to necessary changes and unnecessary nuisances. However, in the minds of many people, street art is just vandalism and an illegal action.
What can be done to change this opinion? What can street artists do to become more respected in their art? How could we make everybody see the positive effects of street art—see it as an important art for—and change opinions on the art form in general?
StreetArt in Germany asks: How can the public opinion of street art be improved?
TAPE OVER answers:
Whether street art is considered vandalism or a form of art is dependant on the spectator. However, we think the public opinion of street art can be positively influenced if street art itself improves…and it is. Urban art is a strain of various artistic styles out on the streets that mirror urban subculture and contextualize urban lifestyle. Among them, tape art is a newly budding form that can be used an indicator for the development of this art form.
For us, urban art is a visual form of communication and thus subject to an evolutionary process. It is about adapting visual artwork to formats that tap the public space. It is meant to give people something to think about and to encourage people to reflect on their environment. Urban art is like visual food for your mind and your soul. Nowadays, this art form is slowly but surely getting broader attention and is being used to promote events, decorate stores and beautify interiors.
In spite of wider acceptance, most urban artists remain anonymous and work with an alias. This is a contradiction, because urban art is created by the people for the people. It is “public art” and thus needs to happen wholly in the public arena, not in the shadows.
Street art’s development towards urban art is an important step toward achieving social acceptance. Practicing the strain of street art that mirrors urban life, these artists enter into a dialogue with the public on political issues, social criticism, emotions, everyday life, the generation gap and city life in general.
In order to raise people’s awareness for this kind of art as well as to raise the reputation of street art, artists need to express themselves during the daytime in public, instead of doing their stuff at night, secretly.
Tape art makes this possible anywhere and anytime—because taping in public spaces is not forbidden by law! To put it simply, you can do tape art during daylight hours right on the streets. The fact that one can take off the tape without any damage gives tape artists the freedom to be creative wherever and whenever they want.
People are normally curious and interested in what we are doing, and one gets in touch with passers-by while taping. But several events, art fairs, exhibitions and also certain public areas are helping us come in even greater contact with the public by presenting street art as an art form and inviting various urban artists to create their pieces live. One of our TAPE OVER highlights was Berlin’s biggest annual music festival where we showcased our tape style in front of 20,000 visitors!
It appears that people get a better understanding when street art is related to its context. Plus, it works best when it’s tied to a fitting milieu. At TAPE OVER, we love and live Berlin’s electro scene and consider it our pool of inspiration. Through our collaborative project, AUGMENTED TAPE ART, we brought our art to this world. Together with two French motion designers, we combined projection mapping and tape art into a live performance. This symbiotic fusion is a springboard for optimism, showing that street art can be developed further to create new forms of expression with artistic value.
We also believe that interaction is a big factor in getting people to engage with street art. It’s not only about perceiving and modifying your living environment—it’s also about involving everybody. For our individual body and fashion styling, called TAPE ON YOU, we used tape to create a unique and extraordinary look…right on people’s skin and clothes. This is an unusually direct interaction between the artist and audience that makes the experience of urban art personal.
We consider public opinion a strong and fluid form of constructive criticism. It is constantly evolving, and because street art is part of the public domain, opinions and criticism change with the art form. We believe that tape art is the perfect, legal way to improve the still relatively skeptical public perception of street art.
With this in mind, there’s only one thing left to do: “Tape it to the next level!”