For a long time an artist with a spray can moved under the cover of darkness and lived in fear of being picked up by the police. The canvas upon which they painted were walls, fences, and even freeway overpasses, but now they have discovered a new canvas and a much bigger audience. Enter the modern world of the spray paint artist.
Spray paint art is a brilliantly quick visceral form of art, which now captured on video has become a YouTube phenomenon. Watch the videos below and see artists’ create incredible visual, fantastical masterpieces in an incredibly short amount of time. It’s like watching a time-lapse video, but in real time. At the end of the video, you may find yourself simply wondering how on earth such a thing was possible.
THE ORIGINS OF SPRAY CAN ART
The spray can art movement began in the early 1980’s in Mexico City with artist Ruben Sadot Fernandez who would sit in front of large crowds gatherd in parks are on sidewalks and produce incredible pieces of work with his spray cans. Followers of the movement also began creating their art in public, combining spray can art with performance art in popular tourist destinations. By the mid 1990’s the movement had spread around the world.
When you think about the viral spread of spray can art videos, it’s interesting to see that what happened so naturally offline on the sidewalks of major cities around the world has simply replicated itself on the social media sidewalks in cyberspace. A gentle reminder that technology facilitates movements, it doesn’t necessarily start them.
Spray paint video art took off with the YouTube boom in 2007, with artist Brandon McConnell (a.k.a the “Space Painter”) being one of the driving catalytic forces in this riveting new medium with over 51 million views on his YouTube channel. Watch McConnell produce this out of this world spray can art masterpiece in just a minute.
SPRAY PAINT VIDEO ARTISTS
Spray paint artists are an eclectic bunch of people from around the world who love to share their tactile and creative artwork with others. In many ways, the canvas is the video itself with their process (their technique and speed) being just as important as the finished work.
Check out the groovy work of English artist Joe Vinton as he creates his eerie Lake Forest masterpiece in 3 minutes.
The fascinating thing about spray can artists is their work is as much about removing paint as it is adding it. More often than not the art form lends itself to the science fiction or fantasy genres as the techniques involved allow the artists to quickly create planets, moons, rock formations, and other out of this world sci-fi elements. Even when artists choose to be more natural and realistic in their subject matter the work inevitably is brushed with a touch of fantasy.
American artist Ben Rabine (a.k.a “X.D.Ben”) is another popular spray paint artist on YouTube with his “Paradise Painting” receiving over 200,000 views. X.D. Ben’s vidoes may take a little longer than other spray paint videos, but his work is gorgeous, refined, and thrilling to watch.
The last of the spray can superstars in this roundup is a Los Angeles-based, Echo Park legend who hangs by the moniker “GraffHead.” His work is different from the other spray can artists in this roundup, in that he creates realistic portraits with his spray can art in a vey short time. Watch the video below to get a better idea of his style and to see the control he has over the spray cans.
LEARN TO CREATE SPRAY PAINT ART VIDEOS
Maybe you’re wondering if you could create spray paint videos, too. The great thing about all the video artists mentioned above is that they are not afraid to share what they know with other aspiring spray can artists. Many of them put out instructional videos or sell how to DVD’s as an additional source of revenue.
So are you ready to begin? If you want to start out with something simple, then check out “How to create a basic planet” video on YouTube. You never know what you might create. Good luck, happy spraying, and let us know if you upload a video of your creation.
Have you dabbled in spray can art? Ever thought of sharing a video of you creating art with spray paint?
Geoff is a globe-trotting New Zealand filmmaker and transmedia specialist working on multiple feature films while contributing to the RealPlayer blog. His groundbreaking work with interactive video content is fueled by his passion for creating technological connections between audiences and content providers. Geoff is the founder of the daily creative blog Seven Sentences, and also loves rugby, good food and three-legged dogs.