Global Street Art was set up with the intention of creating an extensive photographic archive of international street art. Recently, the project has expanding to create partnerships between shop owners and artists to add vibrant art to neighborhoods in East London.
Lee and Dan are the creators Global Street Art and have accumulated over 58,000 images of work by over 2,600 artists around the world. This ambitious project aims to catalogue excellent examples of international street art and create a community of artists. By nature, street art is ephemeral, lasting only until it is painted over or removed, and the online archive will help preserve photographs of work long after it is gone.
Beyond archiving existing work, the Global Street Art also aims to provide space for artists to create new work while also adding colour and vibrancy to East London streets. Shop owners donate the “canvas” and the artists create new paintings for free. In the past six months, Lee has arranged for fifty new pieces to adorn shop walls and shutters. This mutually beneficial operation has so far met with positive feedback and may inspire others to become involved. Lee acts as a matchmaker of sorts pairing artists with local businesses., and while most work is done without payment, owners are able to commission specific work. The completed images vary from great to not so great, but the scheme provides interest to otherwise empty wall space. So far, the project has been centred around Brick Lane and Whitechapel, but could potentially extend much further through East London and the rest of the city.
Global Street Art gives artists the chance for greater exposure – by working with the owners of the space the works are likely to be more permanent, and images of completed work are catalogued in the archive. In addition to the online archive and London matchmaking, Lee and Dan are busy publishing a book featuring some of the highlights of their photographic collection. More information on Global Street Art and to see images of completed work, visit http://globalstreetart.com/walls.
Word: Emily Sack © ArtLyst 2012
Images by Global Street Art: