Artistic pavements, also known as street art, street painting, and sidewalk art, or artistic performances designed to give an aesthetic look or design to the pavement. Examples of these fortunate pavements are subways, sidewalks, streets, recreational ground paths, and town squares with semi-permanent or completely impermanent drawings created using materials like chalk.
The art of modern artistic pavements can be traced back to Britain, where pavement artists were nearly all over the Kingdoms. Most of these artists in the late 19th century were earning their living as full-time pavement artists in major cities like London and Manchester. Today many sites have delved deeper into this trade by providing enthusiasts with insight about artistic pavements and their contribution towards aesthetic on our streets.
Origin of Artistic Pavements
Screever is a British name given to pavement artist. The term originated from the Copperplate writing style, which often accompanied the pavement artists’ works since the early years.
Screevers works from time immemorial were often accompanied by proverbs and poems, political commentary, lessons on morality based on a particular period event. They produced a topical pictorial illustration of current events or trends and appealing to all people, the literate and the illiterate. This phenomenon explains the importance of art as a tool for educating masses or preserving the historical heritage as all can understand visual images. Most importantly, for Screevers to earn their living, they would also try and catch the eye of the elite in the community to attract their money offered as donations for their efforts.
These noble people have earned different titles across the world such as chalk artists, and a title street painter is mostly referred to in the USA and Madonnari in Italy because they are known to have recreated the images of the Madonna. In Germany they are called Strassenmajor; a title coined from two words, namely streets (straßen) and painters(mailer).
Madonnari traces their origin to the sixteenth century where they were mostly itinerant artists, who had come to Rome and other cities to work on the cathedrals. After completion of work, they needed another way to earn a living, and that is how they started recreating the paintings borrowed from the church on pavements. They would also travel to attend holy days and festivals held in various towns and provinces, participate in the festivities and make a living from impressed observers’ donations as a show of goodwill and approval of their artistic work. To make a living from onlookers who would offer coins to them if they approved of the artist’s work. Madonnari mostly viewed as simple folk artists used to reproduce simple images using simple materials, e.g., coal, tiles, chalk, coal, and charcoal.
Developments in the artistic pavement
Street art has evolved from the 1700s to the 21st century where items of focus, the motivation behind the art and the generation of artists we have. It everywhere takes over walls of buildings in major towns and cities, covering the subways and the streets and painting the world too. It has evolved to be a more creative form of art.
The artistic pavement evolution began in 1973, where street painting began to be promoted across Italy through the formation of a two-day art festival starting in Grazie DI Curtatone, Mantua Province.
Kurt Wenner, world’s most popular street artist and one of the proponents of modern day street art, In the 1980s, he practiced 3D pavement art. This art is referred to as anamorphic art or one-point perspective art too. It is an old technique, but put into work successfully in recent years, mainly through the use of computers. To see the image correctly, you have only to view it from a specific angle.
In the United States, the concept of impermanence has over the years been a problematic concept for art lovers to embrace. This notion can be blamed on the fact that ours is a materialistic culture where we don’t believe or want to accept that an artist’s work should wash away. One of the largest street painting events in the United States is the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. It is usually held in Lake Worth, Florida and was started in 1994 attracting a record 100,000 visitors over a weekend.
Examples of great artistic pavements work in the US are; Leon Keer – At Chalk Festival in Sarasota, Florida, Street Art by Ron English in New York, USA, Yarn Bombing – R2D2 in Bellingham, Washington, USA, In Johnson City, TN, USA and Daddy Long Legs – In Seattle, USA among many others that are on your street and i haven’t mentioned them.
How artistic pavements are made
World over decorative sidewalks has become a norm, but with a diverse approach from the olden days, e.g., use of 3D in the artwork. But we would do well to appreciate where this strange ritual originated. Looking at significant civilizations leaves us in awe as we ponder through the great works of art. In Portugal, artistic pavements ideas came from Rome. The work consists of using small flat pieces of stones that arranged in an image or pattern, just like a mosaic. Artisans first lay bedding of gravel on the well-compacted trench using argillaceous materials. The gravel helps accommodate the tessera stones that act like cement.
There are simple steps followed to get an excellent, complete work:
- Artisans prepare the small flat stones
- After preparation, careful placement of rocks follows. This process of placement is done manually by placing each stone at a time.
- After stones placement, finishing works are done by spreading a cement mix on the pavement for compatibility effect.
- Finally, the artwork is complete, and the outcome of the great work wows pavement users.
With few people wanting to stick to the kind of craftsmanship seen in Portugal and Italy, street art practice may be coming to an end. But there are people who are still saving this noble through integrating simpler ways of doing it in the past, and a new approach by use of anamorphosis concept also described as a Renaissance-era of artistic thought. Through this method, a deformed image, form and only appears in its correct shape when viewed from a specific position or in an unconventional way.
This method is called three-dimensional (3-D). In 3-D art uses two processes, namely additive where an artist creates a form using materials or subtractive process that removes materials from an already existing form.
Methods used by artists in the 3-D art are:
This refers to any artwork attained through manipulation of materials resulting to a 3D object. Materials used are from plastic, glass, etc.
2. Assemblage or Construction
Artists uses found, altered or manufactured objects and items to create a piece of art. This method has been used by Sculptor Debra Butterfield to come up with amazing pieces of art.
3. Installation and performance art
This is a 3D concept that utilizes multiple facets from different mediums and takes the whole space to generate a beautiful piece of art. It can be either site-specific or generic. Installations and performance arts are complex and mainly used to addresses narrative ideas and above all aesthetics on a much higher scale compared to sculpture. Its origin can be traced to a period after world war during the Dada art movement.
4. Decorative art
This is a distinct feature on pavements and streets mainly in the African-American neighborhoods.
5. Product design
A 3D street painting is called an anamorphic painting. Anamorphosis as an art technique brings awe and clamor on artwork because when used it distorts a picture in a way that you can only figure out what it is if you view it from a vantage point. 3D artistic pavement is a 2-dimensional artwork drawn on an actual sidewalk or street and gives the observer or viewer a 3-dimensional optical illusion if viewed from a particular angle or say perspective. It is a piece of beauty, an art masterpiece giving viewers an incredibly captivating, breathtaking and realistic feeling once they figure out the correct angle or position. The most common 2- dimensional models you will find if you visit fiferent websites of a 2-dimensional models are where the edges of the page are parallel to two of the three dimensions, and the third dimension is portrayed through diminishing size, overlapping, diminishing size and any other techniques that could bring about the perspective. It’s interesting, right!!! Then why don’t you try it out?
The importance of Artistic pavements
The world’s great street artists like Julian Beaver, Kurt Wenner, Edgar Muller, Banksy, and Tracy Lee Stum have made a fortune through integrating traditional works of art with the modern order and making mind-blowing and world’s most highly coveted works of art. Youths with artistic talent can indulge in this practice, and they will harness fulfillment, improve on their skills and not forget the fortune they can make from this talent. As they do street art they can also engage in commercial forms of art mainly in textiles, advertising, cultural fests, development of labels and logos and this is a fantastic way to earn a living. Thanks to the embracement of street art as part of the culture, it’s now almost everywhere and indecent forms.
Art is part of us, intertwined with our lives and found in almost every aspect of humanity. It embodies creativity and catapults it to a higher level. Creativity, in turn, builds us into great geniuses, and now that is how life becomes fun and worthwhile. It captures moments of joy, sadness, happiness, a celebration not for the benefit of the people of today but for generations to come. Art does not fade away, and it is timeless and new with every day that dawn on us.
Art in modern society as was in the old culture has been a medium for expressing one’s thoughts, and a means through which their beliefs manifest. Through this way of expression, I to the benefit of so many people within a society whose voices could not be heard. Artistic pavement is a platform for enriching an entire community through works of art. There are stress relievers, but none is better than a great piece of art. It manipulates human conscience by giving an individual some form of illusion, especially 3D art where one takes a journey to a fantasy world. The masses get lost in the moment, and phew, all stress is gone.
For artists, impermanent nature of street art enhances imagination, creativity in progress, the ability to see things and imagine things unseen before and mental growth through a move from simple to intricate works of art. Works of art will be all over today, in Escape rooms, Theatres, Movies, and Music. It is defining us as individuals, and it’s a tool for improving lives, making us better each day.
Misconceptions about Artistic pavements
Artistic pavements are impermanent and legal. It is very distinct from graffiti which is more word based on street arts are a non-destructive image-based form of art. What happens when it rains? Art is more than a product; it is a form of creation too with each day bringing in a bolder, more creative piece of art compared to yesterday. So there is a tentative development of image and skill. It is ever work in progress, hence need for impermanence. After a piece of art is completed and audiences get an opportunity to admire it, then its purpose is served. If an artist has fully expressed him/ herself and the audience has observed creativity at its best, then the art getting washed away doesn’t leave the artist with hard feelings.
Street art is a ritual and not a marketable commercial product for auctioning for a fixed value. The artistic worth of a piece of an artwork is not defined by how much profits it is worth making. Its impermanence nature means it’s just for aesthetic value not as a gain in capital markets. Kurt Wenner was saying the impermanent nature of art makes him feel like he has offered an offering and the ritual is complete. That’s the beauty of street art.
Artistic pavement is enjoyable and a fulfilled process, but there is a lot of discomfort to the artist brought by nature, such as fatigue, scorching sun, extreme cold or heat, being treated to winds, rain, thirst and also being brutally treated by unapologetic city council workers. Bending over for long hours and concentrating too is quite a tedious process, but the outcome is rewarding.
Artistic pavement is an incredible experience as you figure out what beautiful and magnificent pieces of art can do to dull streets, street walls, sidewalks. Think of peace of mind and heart on onlookers, think about the heritage, the moral lessons you could pass through art. Honestly, it’s a ritual, and it’s a fantastic experience that is both adventurous and great to pursue. You don’t have to be a professional. It is an open party for anyone who believes they can do it.