Genius or madness, a new fashion or old school — how can you call this, of course, an extraordinary way of self-expression — street art on the steps. Created in different parts of the world during months for life in centuries or during a couple of nights for the one minute of glory, in the 21st century this art became a must see and must visit in the travel-plans of every modern artist, designer, tourist.
Europe, North and South America, Asia — there is something to «say» for the stairs all over the world. And we, as usual, have what to ask them about. Who are these street creators, whose ideas are painted by more than one city in the world? Why in order to express themselves they chose steps, not words? Where can you see the most popular objects of this type of street art?
Stairs of this city are used to thinking out loud. One of the trendy street artists in California, Aileen Barr, describing the motives and goals of his work, says: «To work on such a large scale, in front of such a broad audience means to create a new environment, a new society with which you simultaneously conduct a dialogue through paint, volume, space — through their creativity. This street art is impossible without cooperation with the audience, it observes, suggests, you — listen, create. In this art, the voice of the public, its desires, needs, dreams are heard, the history of the city is traced in it, its culture is read. My recent works, in general, reflect the natural environment in the urban context. I try to create unique spaces that allow viewers to see and feel those elements of nature that are not always available in city life. »
In California, Aileen Barr has been working for 22 years, the favorite among the works is the stairway in San Francisco The 16th Avenue Steps, created in association with Colette Crutcher, a mosaic artist.
Lana Chukri and Jubran Elias are two key figures in the world of street art. This pair of masters created the legendary art team Dihzahyners, the participants, successors and fans of which are working around the world today — painting all the possible spaces — from porches and handrails of houses to sculptures in city parks and recreation areas.
In 2012 the masters, with the support of hundreds of other creative volunteers, began work to restore and rejuvenate the shattered and gloomy streets of Beirut. The project has received worldwide recognition and the name «Paint up!», and today it continues in many countries. Now Dihzahyners is a social, non-profit organization that, from the words of Lana Chukri and Jubran Elias, «has become a living, breathing entity with more than 160,000 followers around the world and countless contacts with charitable organizations, schools and independent artists throughout Lebanon».
Dihzahyners started in a moment, moved by the inner voice, that later became the vector for the new «construction of Beirut: “… one day it certainly comes a time when you stand high above the city, looking into the horizon, and you are on fire, and you want to be these walls. You want to talk, you need a voice that the whole city will hear and see, as long as its inhabitants will make the usual routes from day to day. This is what we intended to do. We wanted to destroy the city in a peaceful and «non-invasive» way — in a way that will bring some clarity to society and turn the stairs into bridges connecting our streets and lanes. Expand the urban space of our city through paint, through color, — we ourselves all become walls, stairs and streets.»
South America, Peru
Literally shedding light on the streets of Peru, the artist and illustrator known as Xomatok, placed his «Serpent of Light» in the Villa El Salvador area.
In the same «rainbow» style decorated residential and under construction spaces in Lima.
Art canvases on the steps can be not only a method of self-expression or an element of urban decor, today it is an effective advertising move, which, for example, is vividly demonstrated by the organizers of the exhibition of Salvador Dali in 2005, held at the Art Museum of Philadelphia. Such a visual ad is easily «read» and 100 m from the museum. In fact this is an enlarged portrait of the artist, cut into strips, that are attached to the steps.
The most emotional art project on the steps can be called the staircase Holsteiner in the German city of Wuppertal. The object was created by the artist Horst Glasker and is called «Rainbow Stairs». Each stage of the work has both color of paint and of emotions — to go up you have to pass 112 steps and experience the same feelings perpetuated in German words on the stairs.
«I see opportunities to show art in a variety of places: in prisons, churches, hospitals, universities, offices, banks and shopping centers. What I want to express in my work, — is to re-arrange the rooms and spaces in which we live and make them move, live, influence our feelings and create a positive, inspiring atmosphere. » – Says Horst Glasker.
The city of Valpariso in Chile among tourists is called «Paradise Valley»: it looks like an exhibition hall, where every door, arch, staircase and even funicular (by the way, thanks to them Valpariso is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List), turn into art objects.
This staircase demonstrates a more traditional approach to art: its steps depict something that can easily be «copied» in the picture on the wall. However, the steps here are replaced by chapters, that tell the story of one city. The artist did not spare time and colors to convey the details of each scene, even the curves of the waves and louvers of houses were drawn on the stairs.
Street art in origami technique showed the French artist Mademoiselle Maurice, who decorated the staircase, leading to the cathedral in Angers. The project was prepared for the festival ARTAQ-2013, to implement the idea it took the help of French volunteers and 30 thousand sheets of colored paper.
A shoe gallery or an art object on an art object — this stairway in Santiago features an unusual selection of materials in the name of street art. Laboratorio Escenico Visual works on the creation of artificial art objects in cities. Teaming up with the shoe designer, they created a rainbow of different pairs of sneakers, which played the role of street pots. This miracle adorns one of the park exits in the center of Santiago. Residents admit that this work causes smiles of passers-by and brings notes of optimism and positive in the general mood of the city.
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Exactly in the center of the city artist Jose Selaron started work on his project in 1990, choosing green, blue and yellow as the dominant colors — the colors of the flag of Brazil. In this way the artist expressed «a tribute to the Brazilian people». According to the artist, «the staircase will never be completely finished, work on it can be continued indefinitely, the mosaic consists of more than 2000 tiles, my hands worked only over 300 of them.»