3 Reasons A Recession Is Good For Street Art

Work by K-Guy. Photo by K-Guy
Work by K-Guy. Photo by K-Guy

Everybody’s been talking about how the recession is going to destroy every part of our economy, and yeah, it probably will, but it’s not all bad new… street art might actually get a boost in the long run thanks to this economic downturn.

Here are three possible advantages for street art in this recession:

1. The not very talented artists who have found their way into galleries are going to be put in their place.
So many people have been buying street art either for the name of the artist, or just because it is street art. This year, some collectors are concerned that even great artists won’t sell much work. People have stopped buying for name or genre recognition. Collectors are buying those “special pieces” that they feel are particularly great. At the end of this recession, there are going to be a lot fewer crap street artists because their work  is going to stop selling. Nobody wants to buy a piece any more just because the Sotheby’s catalog describes it as “stencil and spray paint on found wood.”

2. Street artists will do more work on the street.
That’s why we love these guys isn’t it? They work on the street. While some artists have done a good job of balancing street and gallery work, many have let the quality of street work degrade, used street work as a publicity tool for upcoming shows, or just stopped working on the street altogether. A recession might inspire/force artists to return to their roots of doing quality work for the public. The time is right for innovation in street work. We had artists on the Tate Modern last summer, but I’m sure somebody will go even bigger than that.

Cept Leake Street

3. It’s a buyer’s market (for those who still have the cash)
No more being told “You have 10 minutes to decide if this £5,000 piece is right for you. I’ll send you a jpeg.” With flippers out of the market and collectors being much more careful with how they spend their money, those who are still buying can pick up some great deals. I’ve seen available work recently by Vhils, Bast, and even Banksy that wouldn’t have lasted to 5 minutes in last year’s market, but is sitting unsold at bargain prices. Take a look at these Banksy originals up for auction at Sotheby’s in February.