Inflated Claims of Art
Soundtrack to the sidewalk, subway zoo, and why the British tabloids insist on harassing a 65-year-old lady.
By Maria Popova
Today, we’re looking at art that blows — literally. Think of this as a niche appendix to our best-of graffiti and socially-conscious street art series a while back, with a nod to the superhero issue. Yep, we’re multi-pronged like that.
As much as we respect comic book culture, we’ve always wondered what it is exactly about the action illustrations that inspires such unconditional reverence, such loyal followings and such… dedicated… fan conventions. Could it be the unique intersection of visual and sound effects on the printed page, creating a POW! new reality of WURRRG! mixed media and OOH! non-linear perception? Perhaps.
And street artist D.Billy has decided to explore that intersection in our very real reality with his visual representations of sound effects through installations of colorful media like balloons and party steamers.
He works in “found scenes” of urban landscape and, after photographing the finished creations, he leaves the installations on the scene to engage passers-by and inspire a new awareness of the surroundings normally taken for granted.
We love the idea of bringing surreal elements to the most mundane corners of reality, and doing it in a way that plays with how we’re used to experiencing our own senses. Check out D.Billy’s Flickr stream and think about the visual action soundtrack to your own neighborhood. WOWZA!
While bursts of color splattered throughout the otherwise mundane environment sure can be stride-stopping, it’s all the more fascinating when the stride-stopping stuff comes from the most mundane of materials. Case in point: artist Joshua Allen Harris, who uses plastic bags and subway vent air to create inflatable sculptures.
Harris has animated anything from a giant ape to a giraffe to the Loch Ness monster to an entire zoo. New York Magazine recently interviewed the artist for a look behind this unique breed of urban surrealism.
The magic of it is that it looks like plain ol’ trash until a train passes underneath, animating the sculptures and bringing entire scenes to life. And since Harris works mostly in the streets of New York, we find his work to be a brilliant, playful way to engage the world’s most notorious intentionally-oblivious pedestrians.
Finally, Banksy is outed?
We won’t include a photo here because we think half the fascination of it is in the mystery — leave the man/woman be.
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Published July 16, 2008