Transient, Chantelle Fawcett, Paper Cut and Wheat Paste on Plywood
Transient explores the relationship between people and their built environment. My inspiration is drawn from street art - an art form that took the art out of the gallery, ultimately out of the art world, and put itself into the stream of the everyday. This piece explores how street art intersects with the city, how we live, and ultimately how we occupy our spaces. Street art is intended to be ephemeral. The hierarchy of context all but disappears with this piece referring to the vapidity and hollowness of urban culture. Street art has now gained mainstream status and, in turn, propelled the urban art scene into popular culture. Transient has created a juxtaposition between organic shapes and urban architecture. This juxtaposition reiterates the importance of nature while urbanization is propelling at a rapid rate. Because of human population growth, urbanization has become a necessity, along with the accompanying development of infrastructure to support it. Transient provides an evaluation of street art’s potential to transform our understandings and experiences of urban spaces and cultural value.
Transient is largely inspired by street artist Caledonia Curry, famously known as Swoon. Swoon’s work is showcased as representing an era when graffiti culture was heavily male-dominated and often still is. Swoon’s work stood out to me as her work demands attention for its gentle imagery as distinct from the frequently chaotic spray paint murals popularized by urban male artists. Swoon’s imagery is often created using paper cuts and traditional printmaking techniques and are only made into street art once wheat pasted to the sides of urban architecture.
This piece is created using various techniques employed in the practice of street art. I begun by creating various stencils that would traditionally be used as the throw away item and incorporated this element as the focus of Transient. The stencil is created to easily reproduce various images at a rapid rate. By incorporating the stencil as the art, I hope to again emphasize the ephemera of this practice as the material disintegrates over time. It was during my experiments with graffiti stencils that the idea of paper cuts became an integral point in my work. This art form made me feel connected to my work as the stencil is labour intensive and process driven. Paper cuts like street art are difficult to distinguish the final output until they have been completed. There is an assumption of what the piece will appear but it is not until installation that I can fully conceptualize my work. I want to communicate the extensive complexity and intricacy of street art and therefore the process behind my work is so important. Like the development of architecture, paper cutting is repetitive and created with the use of patterns. I have chosen paper as a medium because it displays a mixture of delicacy and durability that for me characterizes the practice of street art. The shadows of the paper cuts created by light again emphasizes another level of ephemera and complexity that surrounds this practice.
I aim to create a shift in value when these once considered unconventional practices are shown in an institution and are accepted into mainstream culture. Coming from the context of urban spaces, street art now lives in the cultural spaces of galleries, virtual communities, public discourses and recently it has become an object of appropriation by popular culture and mainstream media. Coinciding with the mass expansion of the internet in the twenty-first century, street art as a counter culture or sub-genre mode of operation, is a movement that is millennial resonant and relevant.