The Surreal Side to Street Art

Posted by Eleni Duke on 03rd October 2013

Hush Stupid Creatures
 
Hush, Stupid Creatures
 
Surrealism is a movement most people associate with the likes of Dali, Ernst and Kahlo and not normally with Street Art. Amazing painters in their time, the old surrealist masters were the first to take reality to a more intimate, subconscious level. Now the baton has been passed on and, in my view, the area in which you are best able to see the surrealist movement in contemporary art is on the street. Street art is a movement that has ascended into the public eye at a rapid pace helped by the growth of social media and the ability to spread the word at a blink of an eye. The likes of Facebook, Instagram,Tumblr and Twitter have made street art more accessible to the average Joe. No need to worry about sneaking a photograph in a gallery, it’s there, it’s in front of you, it’s on the street.
 
Kef! Hackney Road
 
Kef! Hackney Road
 
Of course you could argue that all art work could be viewed as surreal if you delve deep enough, but there is something inherently surreal about art which incorporates itself into the street and embeds 
itself into the daily lives of everyday people. The most obvious side of surrealism which presents itself in the world of street art is the grand or miniscule scale of the images produced by street artists and the way their characters appear in the most obscure public spaces.
 
ROA Zaragoza
 
ROA Zaragoza
 
Take ROA’s huge black and white animals, in a completely urbanised space such as London to see a huge woodland or exotic creature is very much out of context. Coupled with the scale of the art work it can transport any passer-by, if only for a second, to a world far from reality. On the other hand Roy’s People, an up and coming street artist from Essex, plays with the world of the miniature making us see our real world from a completely different perspective. To his characters a cigarette butt dropping to the floor, is almost comparable to a meteorite crashing down on the earth for us normal sized folk.
 
Malarkey
 
Malarkey, images courtesy of We Heart
 
Stik
 
Stik, images courtesy of Street Art London
 
Sweet Toof
 
Sweet Toof, images courtesy of ArtFlyMovie 
 
Most artists have their own style, and great artists would invent the concept and style in which they work. In Street Art we not only have a style but characters; each artist seems to create a signature character for their style. To name a few, the likes of Stik, Malarky and Sweet Toof; their pieces are instantly recognisable because of the characters they portray in an array of situations.
 
The Pioneer, Kris Gaudio Endsley
 
Kristin Gaudio-Endsley, The Pioneer
 
Many street artists are also known for concealing their identity, however now that it has become more acceptable to the public and authorities alike, can they not reveal who they are? Can we prophesize that their characters are a projection of their own psyche on a huge and imposing scale? Indeed, is street art, the art of the truly shy or the incredibly confident? However you see it I believe there is definitely a surreal side to street art, but ultimately the decision lies with the viewer and how curious they feel.
 
Love Thy Black Heart - Mr Four Fingers
 
Mr Four Fingers, Love Thy Black Heart
 
Check out Curious Duke's profile HERE, if you want to see more Thought-provoking, Surreal and Urban works from the best emerging Artists.