Misguided Masterpiece: Student Street Art

By Ryan Harris
Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Ryan Harris
Philadelphia is a vast city full of its fair share of attractions. Yet sometimes if you delve a bit deeper into the city you’ll find neighborhoods in disarray due to things such as poverty or gang violence. Things like that can make Philadelphia seem depressing.
Many citizens of Philadelphia have made it their mission to somehow breathe new life into Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. How? Through street art and organizations such as Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Senior Ian McClendon is one those people trying to revitalize Philadelphia thought his art.
McClendon like many other teenagers participate in stencil art, in which a person takes a piece paper or cardboard, cut it into a design, and then spray paint over it.

Although he has been creating street art for several years, McClendon does not consider himself a great natural artist. “I guess like a lot of us, we all say that we can’t draw, or I don’t know how to draw,” he stated. “I said that to myself but when I was introduced to graffiti by a willing friend to teach me. I took the opportunity to create work like his.”

Art teacher Marcie Hull is enthusiastic about this work. “I LOVE STREET ART! My neighborhood now, I see street art at the train station. On an electrical box across the tracks from my house is an awesome Darth Vader stencil. I love seeing it.”

While it has garnered lots of popularity amongst younger children, many adults tend to view stencil art as graffiti but it’s an issue that is often debated.

“I feel that street art and graffiti are two different subjects but can be represented in the same style,” McClendon said. “Graffiti is that stuff you see on a wall and it looks like large scribbles, incomprehensible, and placed in a area that it can’t be related to in a sense. But then again there is a time and a place for the misunderstood art.”

Many others forms of art have often been misunderstood or misinterpreted by the mass media. But then again, there always people who abuse it. “I love graffiti,” said McClendon, “but I hate the noobs who want to throw up some random word that no one can understand or even read.”

The type of graffiti McClendon mentioned is the very opposite approach to street art in Philadelphia. They’re trying to bring life to the least lively places of the cities. Hopefully more can do like Ian McClendon.

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