Thursday, August 13, 2009
If walls could talk

Giant faces , Alfred Hitchcock , painted palm trees and an oversized rooster came out to play when iReporters shared their photos of street art in their neighborhoods.

 

We're excited about the enthusiastic response we've gotten to the Street art in your community assignment, and now we're looking forward to the next step. The amount of content has frankly been overwhelming and we need your help to sort it all out. Besides, this is a great opportunity for us to all work together. So, let's try something new and join forces in figuring out what to do.

 

I've identified a few things I'd like to try, from isolating the different geographic divisions of the artwork to focusing tightly on certain categories. I'm also looking at different gallery formats. But the decision is ultimately unmade, and we would like your help in identifying themes that you see in the content. What themes do you see in these photos and videos? How would you approach them? Share your ideas in the comments below, and upload a photo of street art near you if you have it on hand. (Or take us on a video tour.) Bring your inspiration to the table and help us bring this project to fruition.

25 Comments
August 13, 2009
Click to view MarieSager's profile

I worked on a "Movie" theme yesterday by just taking a walk down Hollywood Blvd.  I didn't realize it was filled with so many murals and street art mainly focused on the movie industry, past and present.  I like breaking it down into themes.  Also, your suggestion of one long collaborative video would be super.

August 13, 2009
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Thanks, MarieSager, that's a great suggestion. I thought your walk down Hollywood Blvd. was a really neat idea.

 

Are there patterns that spring up in certain neighborhoods? What does this art say about a place, and where does it come from?

 

What kinds of themes are we seeing out there?

 

Also, how does urban art vary between countries and cultures?

August 13, 2009
Click to view LizWhitney's profile

Just thinking out loud... when I was in high school in upstate New York, I was a student school board representative and raised money to sandblast the graffiti off the outside brick walls of the school.

 

However, being a teen myself I wanted to give students the opportunity to express themselves artistically. I convinced the school board to allow us to use the inside walls of the schools for murals. Turned the ugly graffiti into beautiful, expressive and very creative artwork. Wish I could show you but I imagine you get the visual.

 

So... one idea or theme for your street art is to attract inner city youth to express and cultivate their artistic abilities as an alternative to graffiti and/or vandalism. Perhaps a category/theme just for teens? They have so much to say and usually feel like no one is listening.

August 13, 2009
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Hello LizWhitney, as luck would have it, we just posted an assignment especially for teenagers. It's called "Teens' take on the news." Check it out and spread the word to any would-be contributors.

 

http://www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=313768

 

Moreover, I think the point you bring up about students expressing themselves is a great story. Do you think there's someone who would want to iReport about it? Would you? I just want to put that out there. I encourage you to explore this issue further and share any more ideas.

 

Thanks for being on board!

August 13, 2009
Click to view ekkekkorecor's profile

I like the theme idea too, then people could choose the category's they like best

August 13, 2009
Click to view writerontheg's profile

Our art is in a Missouri town of 3500.  We had a goal of 12 outdoor murals from 2001-2007, which we completed.  Businesses have also embraced the idea of public art, and there is now art throughout our town.  The art reflects our history, and students study the murals in 4th grade.  Visit our website and blog for the full impact of art in a small town. www.cubamomurals.com.

 

Yesterday we had 52 people from Springfield, MO on a bus tour that we gave a narrated tour of the murals.  The project has boosted tourism and helped our economy.

August 13, 2009
Click to view WausauFamily's profile

Each year our city (wausau, Wisconsin) holds a chalkfest. Its in the middle of downtown and this years was a huge success! Artists from all over, of all ages, spent the weekend putting their talents on display. our community really has a lot of art projects and events.

August 13, 2009
Click to view sfphotoguy's profile

I think it would be interesting, if not essential to the story to interview (on video) a few of the artists who created these works. I think hearing directly from the artists helps us understand their expression and motivation in creating community art. This will also give the viewers of the story a context in which to evaluate the benefits and aesthetics of these works. I will volunteer to do a little research to see if I can contact some of the artists who created the murals and graffiti art that I photographed in the Haight-Ashbury. Let me know if that is of interest to you.

August 13, 2009
Click to view sunethra's profile

It would also be nice if ones own art work on walls could be included in the program, there are I think some ireports that I saw who have done their own paitings and I think it was very beautiful, like ireporters larenas art work.  This is a great program, and street art is so very beautiful, it depicts the something of that country, and their culture.

August 13, 2009
Click to view MarieSager's profile

Chris Marrow's idea of a map works for me.  You make a video of a spinning world and it stops in New York, show all the art work accumulated from all the iReporter's in that city, and do the same with all the cities and towns and villages that submit.  Pan into the city, town or village (another challenge for "city and town views" to select a picture representing that particular area)  All of sudden we have taken a trip around the world through the eyes of iReporters.  We need to reach out internationally and bring more people into the loop to cover the globe. 

I think it would be hard to break this all down into individual sections and themes.

It would be fun to create a contest to create a name for the video project and reward someone that comes up with the best title by giving them a T-shirt or something for their creative efforts.

Chris had a great idea with the map, but we make it a globe that spins and stops at the art locations.  It unites the world through art and sharing what we photographers capture with our camera's.

I hope this made sense?!

August 14, 2009
Click to view sfphotoguy's profile

Yes, the map/global idea is brilliant!

August 14, 2009
Click to view larena's profile

Hi my art might not be from the streets but is made by me and the imagination maybe comes from the street thank you all for placing great images

August 14, 2009
Click to view thepizzaman's profile

I like the idea of a map also. 

August 14, 2009
Click to view nsaidi's profile

Hey guys, thanks for the great feedback! Looks like you're all intrigued by the idea of a map. I'll look into our interactive and video map options and report back to you on that. We have some tech limitations but there's got to be a way to make this work. Are you thinking global or in the U.S.?

August 14, 2009
Click to view MarieSager's profile

Global.

August 14, 2009
Click to view PaulaGibson's profile

Any discussion of “Street Art” needs to start with a definition.  I noticed both graffiti artwork, along with traditional public space pieces, such as the statute of the Colored Union Soldier, being posted in response to this assignment.  I think that you also have to distingush “Street Art” from graffiti vandalism. In my opinion, graffiti artwork is street art while public art works and vandalism pieces are not.  Maybe beauty is in the eve of the beholder.  The map idea is great, along many times street art pieces are fleeing, and therefore may no longer be located there after time.  In addition to the map, something interactive which would present different cateogories of “Street Art” and give the cnn.com visitors and viewers a change to vote on the pieces as to whether they represent “Street Art” or not.  Maybe some of the I-reporters could return to the site of the pieces they posted and shoot a small video on why they selected the same.

August 14, 2009
Click to view nsaidi's profile

PaulaGibson: Love the ideas! So awesome!

 

Everyone: Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions. I'm definitely taking this into account. This is a new kind of storytelling. It looks like we're going to have some time to noodle (and some technical resources, hopefully). We're going to take our time on this and do it right. Let's continue the discussion. There could potentially be more than one part to this.

August 26, 2009
Click to view DulaAngelita's profile

This looks awesome! Let's keep it growing!

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