Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Google's New Feature Celebrates Graffiti Around the World

Graffiti, for some strange reason, has always fascinated me. Why? First, a lot of the visual arts, like art galleries, museums, sculpture parks and hell, even glass studios can give off a very pretentious air to the uninitiated like myself. There's definitely something intimidating about walking into some chi-chi gallery somewhere - first you have to dress up like you belong there, then fake being familiar with any particular artist's ouevre, and forget about taking pictures! Only if you plan on buying the fucking thing...Sculpture parks, while nice, are very few and far between, and tend to have a very static quality to them. They're like elaborate, whimsical pieces of outdoor furniture. Entertaining, for sure, but the pieces are supposed to be part of the landscape. You're not supposed to think about them, they just are.

Graffiti, on the other hand, is dynamic and full of life. There is little to no fanfare for any kind of "emerging artist" in the field. Aside from Banksy, perhaps, has anyone ever heard of a famous graffiti artist? In most areas, the act of creating this type of art is considered a criminal act. A fantastic mural you found randomly one day could well be gone the next. And believe me, folks, I'm not talking about random gang signs scribbled across the sides of ugly buildings; we're talking the real deal, legitimate - often impromptu - works of art that grace our cities in the most unexpected ways. No admission fee, no fashion, no art dealers, completely pure and to the point. 

Our Lord and Savior Google has developed a search engine that acts as a directory for the best street art/graffiti on the planet. Using Google's Street View feature, the search engine compiles the best shots of graffiti murals around the world. From Spain to Japan to your Seattle neighborhood, chances are one of your favorite works is listed on there. Did I mention the site is interactive? If you find your favorite piece on Street View, just zoom in to the best possible shot of the piece, and submit it to Google Street Art View. I added a mural on Roosevelt & 68th in Seattle a few days ago, and it's already live!

Here are a few of my favorites:
Ibiza, Spain - Right here, right now!

Valenica, Spain - a punk rock Uzi Christ

Valencia, Spain

Amsterdam's Red Light District - it says "slave trade" next to her jacket, fitting because 70% are actually slaves :(

Barcelona, Spain - gentrification and tourists as terrorism?

Barrio Gracia, Barcelona - don't you feel so safe now :)

Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Granada, Spain - guapaaaaaa

Ibiza, Spain - Is it a cish or a fat?

Ibiza - Gives new meaning to the phrase "brainchild"


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