An important part of the Street Art ecosystem is the mural and right now we are in the midst of a mural revolution in neighborhoods, towns and cities everywhere. These are not your mom's mural programs; overwrought art-by-committee debates that result in something no one is really in love with. And while they are often born from the community in some way, they do not try to address the same needs that a traditional community mural has filled by touching on the historical, sociological, local topics or lore. Although they could.
These are mural programs fueled often by one or two people who approach landlords and businesses directly and get permission for artists to hit up a wall. The results can be varied and more often than not the good ones survive.
Three forces are at work today contributing to this rise in freelance muralism and mural programs as far as we can discern. First, the rise of Street Art as a recognized grassroots global phenomenon has opened the eyes of moribund neighborhoods (and real estate developers) to the revitalizing effect that art in the streets can have on an area's desirability and, along with it, has suddenly relaxed the nerves of many a politician and police officer.
Secondly, the rapid proliferation of a global Street Art festival scene that is creating a circuit of relatively young traveling painters "getting fame" with genuine D.I.Y. personal art and parlaying it to their following across digital platforms has certainly sparked the interest of more than a just a few peers.
Finally, now that we are a good ten to fifteen years into the modern Street Art explosion, many of the artists who stuck to their craft have actually developed it, broadened it, deepened it. Consequently we are blessed with a new generation of ever more gifted painters, wheat-pasters, sculptors, knitters, and installation artists who can knock out big pieces in the public space with speed and panache.
Today we take a look at a nascent local mural scene in Jersey City, New Jersey, but we could just as easily have examined nearby Newark - or a growing constellation of towns. Begun just a handful of years ago by a local blog named Savage Habbit, this small mural program showcases local and internationally known Street Artists and co-founder Inez Gradzki has organized many walls in an around an arts community that has been growing in fits and starts.
Using their enthusiasm for the scene and connections to artists, the blog has worked hard in a bricks-and-mortar way to show their love for their community. With an eye on the potential of this town that lies just a few minutes from Manhattan to be a magnet for culture and artists, programs like these are already attracting New York artists. Not surprisingly, a growing number are also deciding to live in these towns, having found friends and given up on trying to live in the expensive city that once drew and retained the creative class by the thousands annually.
So here we are with some recent walls and murals in Jersey City - a template for many more to come.
To learn more about Savage Habbit click HERE.
This article is also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.
Read all posts by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo on The Huffington Post HERE.
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