The metropolises of the world are the sources of inspiration for the artists of Urban Art. New York, Paris, Berlin, London Sao Paulo and the World Cultural Heritage Site at the Völklingen Ironworks have become the locations for encounters with an art which, thanks to the digital camera and the internet have made a triumphal march on the streets and now appear in the museum. The beginnings of Urban Art lie in graffiti. From youths in the late 1960s New York Bronx spraying subway carriages and rows of houses, a graffiti style developed which became a global expression of youth culture. Urban Art is a global cultural phenomenon: art museums and galleries take the work of the post graffiti generation and include it in their collections. Its stars canvasses command the highest prices at auctions. Advertising, fashion and design take on the aesthetic of the street. President Barack Obama winning the US presidential election made US American Shephard Fairey, a long-standing Street Art activist, a star of the scene. The “Change” poster he designed, featuring a portrait of the President, became an icon of the entire election campaign and demonstrated just what the potential is of this art form.
Many Urban Art artists have their roots in classical Writing. From the signatures left on building walls in the 1970s this art movement has spread worldwide. Large-scale format writing motifs and figurative elements developed graffiti further and demonstrated just how an enduring and changeable subculture it is. Tags were refined and in a competitive struggle to create noticeable works artistically worked writings came into being. Continually new and more elaborate writing typefaces blossomed on the city’s image carriers. Extremely well-designed block letters, distorted and intricate letter forms in Wildstyle and 3D style surfaced. The Street Art scene renewed itself. Action-charged borrowings from comic strips to photorealist presentations established it as an independent sub-form of graffiti. The city remained the working area of the Urban Art protagonist, who nowadays can also appear not with a spray can but with a brush and canvas to take up the legacy of the graffiti generation. With their humorous and subtle interventions in urban spaces they make names for themselves the world over.