The term street art can often have an elusive meaning. Whether referring to pieces that are made outdoors or just artwork that has the energetic and bold aesthetic of graffiti, the phrase has become more and more ambiguous as the genre has expanded over the past years. Ironically the liberation that comes hand in hand with the creation and free expression of Street Art does not carry over to its name. Artist D*Face argues that it may in fact do the opposite,
“I’ve never liked the word Street-art; I don’t like it now… I find when you categorise something it starts to have its own limitations and it shouldn’t do that.”
He also says that as far as society is concerned the location is what makes a difference; “If it’s within the street it’s Street Art but when it’s in the gallery it’s not Street Art, it’s Art.” This very odd and fickle delineation was once the only thing separating the names of great artists from being celebrated in galleries and instead having to remain underground, supplementing their art with another form of income. Thankfully this trend is breaking down, in no small part thanks to places such as the StolenSpace gallery.
Located in London’s Shoreditch region, StolenSpace is owned by D*Face himself who prefers to curate the works under the tags: Underground Art or Urban Art. With this in mind creators who have a background in Street Art are welcome, as are those who do not. The running theme here is focusing on contemporary culture, the shifts in society and above all great visual pieces. Because of this the boundaries previously hemming in those who like to throw up murals on a wall are broken, and creators have an opportunity to monetise their craft as well as exhibit smaller works.
The gallery itself is very petite, especially compared to the huge multistory buildings that house places like the national gallery, or some of the gigantic white rooms that make up the numerous facets of the Tate modern. The public area of StolenSpace is actually a pair of rooms that allow admirers to get in close and absorb the work that is displayed there. Another thing that is vastly different about this gallery is that fans of the work have much more opportunity to take away something from the experience in the literal sense. The displayed items as well as a huge folder packed with limited prints; provide varying content at much more affordable prices. Art by names such as Buff Monster, Reka, Twoone, Jason Woodside and even superstar artist Shepard Fairey can all be found here without five figure price tags. Fans of similar works may also appreciate the clothing and accessories adorned with art by the same lengthy roster of names.
Stolenspace is a fantastic destination that celebrates a genre that is often shunted as a reckless or lesser art form. Not only does it provide a great collection of works that previously had nowhere to go, it has also begun to open the door for more accessibility to this leftfield culture and help it grow more popular. Those wishing to visit will also appreciate the area where the galler
y sits, as active Urban Artists are currently at work in its immediate vicinity. The difference is, now they also have the opportunity to showcase indoors.