City Sidewalks vs. Art Museums

Art museums can be very exciting or incredibly boring. There is an expectation, when opening a museum, that it will contain pieces of art that will draw large crowds of people which will, in turn, make the museum a lot of money so that it can stay in business. In my few experiences of attending art museums, I have had very few experiences where there was a piece that stuck with me for a while afterwards and very many experiences where I needed to find a bench to sit on because I could feel myself falling asleep.

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City sidewalks are much different. Only a small minority of people, if any, who walk through the city each day are in search of pieces of art. This is why street artists need to find something that draws people’s attention in. They do not have the luxury of being put in a museum where people who walk through it have no choice but to look at every piece in there. Street artists are also not doing their art for a pay check, so they don’t have to please anyone. They only want their art to be seen, whether people love it or hate it does not matter, because they are still taking in their art.

I have seen much more art in alleyways on the sides of buildings that has captivated me than I have ever seen inside museums. One artist in particular whose pieces always leave me in awe, and whose art, sadly, I have not yet been able to see in person, is Banksy, a street artist whose identity is unknown. What makes Banksy such an incredible artist is the messages he or she is able to convey in their pieces. As an anonymous street artist, Banksy is not only free from the artistic burden of needing to make a living off of their art, but they also don’t need to keep their real name from being tarnished. If they make a piece that angers many then they can still walk around in the daytime without being bothered.

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There is no telling, of course, if Banksy’s art would be any different if there were a name or a paycheck attached to it. There is a chance that their work would still remain very honest if they were working for an art distributor. But then that would bring up the question of why they chose to be anonymous in the first place. Maybe they knew that some wouldn’t like what it was they were putting out to the world. It also speaks to the drive of the artist that they would create their art all over the world for no recognition and no money. It speaks further to their ingenuity as an artist. The unpaid street artist never has to impress anyone, they just have to express themselves.

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