The Dulwich Outdoor Gallery is a unique project and now there is a unique book to accompany it. ‘Street Art Fine Art‘ by Ingrid Beazley is the culmination of a journey which has seen the leafy suburb become one of the must see street art destinations in London.
From an idea in 2012, when a chance meeting between the author and street artist Stik led to the creation of a series of murals around the area, more and more paintings have appeared from more and more artists, the variety of which is impressive indeed. The Baroque the Streets festival in Dulwich last year also saw Street Art London take a leading role in the growth of what would become the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery.
But there is a common link between them all, the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery is inspired by works of art from the more established Dulwich Picture Gallery. Essentially the oldest art gallery in London becoming the inspiration for one of London’s newest. The concept was and still is intriging it brings new audiences and blurs the lines in terms of how both places are perceived.
The launch of the book in Soho’s Lexington Street also saw many of the artists involved revisit the project by painting onto the walls of the venue itself. Thierry Noir, Christiaan Nagel, RUN, David Shillinglaw and Germany’s MadC all painted individual pieces onto the walls of the 3rd floor studio where the launch was being held. It would have recreated some of the memories from when each one also produced individual pieces on the walls of Dulwich.
The book, a heavy 351 page tome, documents a remarkable journey and dedicates a whole chapter to every artist. It is filled with photographs documenting the journey of each and accompanied with the images from the Dulwich Picture Gallery from which the works sought inspiration. Ingrid offers not only her own commentary but that of the artists and incorporates feedback from other sources such as the Dulwich OnView website and various walking tours she has conducted in the area.
The Dulwich project is unique in the world of street art in that it actively seeks to break down barriers of perception between lovers of different art mediums. People visiting the area might see a mural and consider visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see it’s inspiration and fans of the Gallery might be tempted to take to the streets and see how the modern masters have re-interpreted the old.
One of the more interesting aspects of the book is it’s honesty, the project is discussed warts and all through various pieces of commentary. The interaction of the general public with the artists is celebrated with the artists themselves coming across as accessible and friendly, mostly happy to speak with intrigued passers by. However it also highlights the dangers of street art, that of tagging for example and in the case of one piece of art by Stik, blatant theft.
Ingrid came into the project blind. She says herself that if she hadn’t herself been a white, middle aged woman who was already known in the community, that she might have had a lot more difficulty convincing people to allow their walls to be used. As it was there was an in-built trust that the project was for the benefit of all and an inherent goodwill which was evidenced by many of the wall owners actually paying costs and expenses towards the project.
Street Art Fine Art is an incredible achievement of that there is no doubt and has played a key role in terms of raising awareness and support of the different mediums. Ultimately it’s got people thinking, street artists can work with galleries and vice versa and art on the street can be just that, street art, with a gallery in it’s own right which doesn’t need to be restricted by space or convention.
Street Art Fine Art Launch Gallery
Street Art Fine Art was launched in Soho on Wednesday 9 April 2014. The book was authored by Ingrid Beazley and follows the evolution of the Gallery over the past two years as she worked with Stik and Street Art London to make the project a reality. Inspiring City has featured the Gallery a number of times with articles on the gallery itself, the Baroque the Streets Festival and with an in depth interview with Ingrid Beazley. The Inspiring City article ‘The Evolution of Art‘ also features in the book as part of the introduction.
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