On Friday 18th January 2019 I attended a 10 year anniversary screening of the documentary film ‘Guerilla Art’ directed by Sebastian Peiter at the British Museum in London. The screening was then followed by a panel talk which included the director himself, artists Ben Eine and Pure Evil, along with host Dr Susan Hansen.
The event was hosted by ‘Art On The Streets’ as part of Ian Hislop’s search for dissent programme. Art on the streets organises symposia and events that feature the latest work and current thinking of internationally renowned artists, curators, and researchers working on street art, graffiti and urban contemporary art.
Guerilla Art features rare footage and interviews with countless high profile names in the game, the film takes a look at the current place street artists have in the elite world of art today and where the genre is headed in the near future. A new generation of streets artists are the latest hot property of art collectors and advertising brands. Featuring Futura 2000, Rammellzee, Banksy, Os Gemeos, Space Invader, Barnstormers, Espo, WK Interact, Zevs, Blek Le Rat, Andre, Noki, Miss Van and Eine. Filmed in New York, London, Paris, Sao Paulo and Tokyo the documentary introduces the graffiti-inspired street art pioneers. Art patron Agnes B and art curator Jerome Sans comment on the early days of Keith Haing and Jean Michel Basquiat, when graffiti changed the streets of New York and the urban landscapes of the rest of the world. The film portrays a new generation of street artists led by UK stencil artist Banksy, whose artworks achieve record prices at auction houses like Sotheby’s and who is collected by Damien Hirst and celebrities Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt.
Other new street art styles featured are the mosaic tile wall images of Invader, the lyrical folklore inspired murals by Brazilian twins Os Gemeos and the ‘Visual Kidnappings’ of advertising billboards by Parisian artist Zevs. Guerilla Art reveals how street artists have developed a unique system of economic survival. Their works are brought by young peers or new collectors. Street artist collective ‘ Pictures on Wall’ sells limited edition prints online and organises Santa’s Ghetto art sale, filmed right in the centre of London’s shopping district.
Once street artists have made a name for themselves, they run their own clothing labels or design special lines for street wear companies. Futura creates record covers and logos for youth brands. Parisian artist Andre is a typical cultural entrepreneur running an art store, working on designer toy lines as well as opening clubs in Paris and other cities. Noki creates one-off anti-couture fashion pieces using street art techniques. Rammellzee performs a mythology of his own Gods in clubs and gallery spaces.
After the screening the panel discussion took place, this was very interesting indeed as Ben and Pure Evil shared their views on how they felt the street art movement has evolved, in particular to the grand effect social media has played, from people sharing pictures of street art to also distracting and causing hindrance to street artists at work.