I am not comfortable with the current direction of street art here in Dublin. It is nice to know that street artists may now have a revenue stream but in a way they have compromised their art.
Over the years the authorities have battled to control what was originally known as graffiti and spent a lot of money in doing so. They were losing the battle until they discovered that could control the activities of street artists through sponsorship and competitions and by doing so they created an opportunity for commercial organisations to take over. To be fair there have been worthwhile programmes such as Dublin City Council’s “Dublin Canvas” paint-a-box programme but I have noticed that some boxes around Dublin are now used as platforms for commercial activities.
Within the last four of five years street art in Dublin has been commandeered by the corporate interests of marketing organisations and their clients and little by little the urban canvas or public space that was available to urban artists has been privatised and monetised.
If you want an example of what I am referring to consider my photograph and the background story.
If you use a certain brand of butter it can be spread straight from the fridge saving you 60 seconds and then you can use that minute to do something really interesting or worthwhile with your life. For example you create the hashtag #MakeaMinute which is exactly what a media company did. The media company then organised what appeared to be spontaneous street art installations around the city and then encouraged social conversations which used many minutes that could have been better used unless you are selling butter. At some stage, I am not sure when, the company logo was added to the street art and the butter company’s involvement was revealed.