The Dusty Rebel
In conversation with The Dusty Rebel:
“Street art is now a backdrop for selfies”
--- The Dusty Rebel
As a street photographer, Dusty Rebel searches with a fixed lens to discover the latest in street art and cultural trends. In his photography and film work, Dusty's goal is in “capturing what’s left of the submersive street art scene.” Distinguishing the real versus the unreal, he claims that inauthenticity runs deep within our current street art scene.
“Muralism is to erase non- commissioned walls”
Street art is overtaken by murals, most is commissioned works over real street art; it is what people understand street art to be. Speaking of the changing dynamics of what is considered to be street art, Dusty observes the heavy production of muralism as a new overshadowing of previously vandalized walls. This popular form of street art is appealing for street artists due to its low risk factor and decorative elements made easy to use for selfie backdrops (leading to easy promotion for the artists with their @ tags).
Pointing out the reference to the clothing and apparel store Rag & Bone, who created a commissioned mural wall for artists to combact the graffiti bombing that typically occurred at their Lower East Side location.
Making great points on the voice of artists in the street, The Dusty Rebel doesn’t hesitate to remark on distinguishing the creatives working towards popularity, fame or real cause.
"I was really curious about how the work was made, wondered why there isn’t enough protest art in the (NYC) street. In other cities you would see it, in NYC you didn’t see anything. Something felt inauthentic, all Bernie Sanders work all of a sudden and no Black Lives Matter."
Speaking on the lack of representation and voices present from marginalized groups, Dusty made great points on the responsibility to create with purpose and intent.
“If you don’t represent your community, no one else will”
One of the most popular conversations currently going on is the issue of gentrification and what role street art plays in it. Looking at transformed neighborhoods like Bushwick, Williamsburg and SoHo, areas where street art is most apparent, it is hard not to question their correlation.
Is gentrification being promoted through street art?
“It is not simply street artists gentrifying a neighborhood, you can’t domesticate graffiti art as a form whereas street art can be domesticate through murals. At the same time you need to beautify these neighborhoods. The Lower East Side used to look like a bomb zone before!”
The debate continues, but as Dusty made a great point, there is pros and cons to both scenarios. Street art definitely cannot be targeted as the cause of gentrification but it does put more visual appeal to the area.
Is it encouraging these drastic transformations in the area, is street art the problem?
Recommended street artists to check out by The Dusty Rebel
Robert Janz, Dee Dee, Nora Breen, Rae BK, Stikman
Written by Jasmine Boothe