Yesterday RJ and I got sent this video of a a mural being put up in Sydney sponsored by Lipton Iced Tea. Despite tagging over some work already put there, the mural isn’t half bad. Apparently this is part of an ongoing series sponsored by the brand to create urban art projects in Australia while showcasing their partnered artists talents.
It’s no secret that art and advertising have been hand in hand ever since graffiti style became popular in the early 1980’s. But where is the line drawn between advertising art and art for advertising? And as such, can the work stand on its own as an entity to be appreciated or is it less appealing because it has brand association?
The video led us to further question other examples of this practice in the past and how audiences reacted to the works. I can think of several just near my flat alone- Tron Legacy painted ad on Great Eastern Street and the large scale Converse painted ad that went over the Eine piece on the Village Underground. Last week Vandalog posted about the annual Supreme paste ups depicting a celebrity photographed by everyone’s favorite “alleged” model molester, Terry Richardson. This year it was Lady Gaga who graced the streets of cities and my Tumblr dashboard as the photograph went viral. An annual event though, these flyers usually get bombed on their own by artists. In their own right, these photographs are artworks and can stand next to any Rankin or Chapelle portrait. But does the added connotation of being associated with Supreme lessen its artistic value? And what about artists like Faile and Poster Boy and Aakash Nihalani who amended the Lou Reed Supreme ads? Are those also further removed from the brand because the artist chose to alter the ads of their own volition?
I just wanted to put this idea out there and would love to hear what you guys think.
Photo by Steven P. Harrington for Brooklyn Street Art