Recently I had the chance to meet up with Urban Canvas, a new social media and street art finder app based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. We spent an afternoon in the Downtown LA Arts District filming and talking about street art, why I love it so much, and the positive impact it has in Los Angeles, and other cities around the world. Wondering where you can find all this amazing art? We talk about that too!
The app, currently available in Spanish (English, French and Portuguese coming soon), allows users to upload photos and location information about street art in real-time. Users around the world can use this tool to browse by location, user or specific artist. Basically, street art just got its own social media! This is great news for all my fellow street art hunters out there!
You can watch the video clip of my interview below, or if you prefer I’ve included a transcript along with some street art and graffiti pieces from my travels.
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How did you get interested in street art?
It was my visit to Lisbon three years ago that really awakened my love of this art genre I was blown away by not only the large amount of art covering just about every imaginable surface, but by the level of obvious talent displayed. Since then I’ve been hard at work curating my “collection”, and was even inspired to do a bit of amateur painting myself!
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When did you start blogging? Why?
I started www.hilarystyle.me 3+ years ago. I’d been doing a fair amount of traveling and wanted to share my travel experiences with friends. Initially I focused on travel and fashion however, I’m now focusing more on travel and art with a heavy emphasis on my hometown: Los Angeles.
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Why is Street art important for communities?
Street art is important in communities for so many reasons.
There’s something so wonderful about a giant piece of art out there in the open for everyone to enjoy. You might just see it out of the corner of your eye as you walk, bike or drive by, but if you do have the time or inclination, it’s there for you to admire at your leisure any time of day or night. Stay as long as you’d like, or take a photo, interact with it. It’s there for your enjoyment, no walls, opening hours, admission, or strings attached.
In recent years street art festivals have helped to raise awareness and money for various causes and at the same time bring communities together. The appearance of a fresh mural can brighten up an area and at the same time help to eradicate urban blight.
A great example of this is the Mural Trail in Glasgow, Scotland. The Trail, a series of paintings in just about every style imaginable, was created to reduce the negative impact of an economic downtrun and to help bring new life and visitors to the city center. You’ll find these amazing works of art on the side and front of buildings both occupied and vacant.
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When did Street art began to grow in popularity here in L.A.?
Today there are countless murals throughout the city of LA, but there was a period of 10 years, referred to as the Mural Moratorium, where it was illegal to paint any kind of fine art mural. Anywhere. Even on private property. The penalties included steep fines and even jail time. Many artists chose to move away and even now many graffiti and mural artists are anonymous, preferring instead to use pseudonyms, in order to protect their identities. I believe the mural moratorium ended in 2013.
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What are some of the best locations to see Street art in L.A.?
- Melrose Avenue stretching from N. Robertson to Highland Avenue with a high concentration around the Fairfax District
- West 3rd Street and Robertson
- Downtown Los Angeles Arts District
- Downtown Los Angeles Historic Core
- Silver Lake and Echo Park
- Mission Junction – East of Chinatown
- Venice Beach – including: Abbot Kinney, Main Street, Ocean Front Walk, Speedway, Lincoln Blvd, and Rose Avenue
- Santa Monica – Main Street
- Santa Monica – The Pico Corridor stretching from Main Street to Sawtelle Blvd
Why do you think Street art used to be criminal and what contributed to it becoming an acceptable art form?
Does LA city government (or California) give money to support street artists?
I don’t know if any city funds are allocated towards street art per se, but I do know that individuals can work with the city in order to facilitate or sponsor a piece of art. For example the not for profit organization Beautify Earth works with the city and private building owners to put up murals all over LA and in other cities as well. The City of Santa Monica has an ongoing project dedicated to featuring artists, street and otherwise.
- Jules Muck Rock
- Colette Miller Angel Wings
- OG Slick
- James GoldCrown
In your opinion what is the difference between graffiti and Street art? Which do you prefer?
I’ve asked many an artist this very question and it differs every time. I think the big difference between street art and graffiti is legality. If something was put up without permission it is graffiti. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t art.
*I was not compensated for my interview with Urban Canvas. All opinions stated here are my own and are based on years of wandering aimlessly in search of art.
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