Monday, May 16, 2011

Sell Outs @ Chicago Street Art Show

Over the weekend I was able to make a spontaneous trip out to Pilsen to check out The Chicago Street Art Show; really cool stuff! It made me feel really 'artsy' (sorry to sound super cliche, and therefore, definitely not 'artsy') to actually recognize a bunch of the artists there.

On my way home, though, as I sat on the bus in dreadful Saturday afternoon traffic, I was able to reflect on what I just saw. And I started questioning the idea of a 'Street Art' show in the first place. After all, isn't what makes street art original, the concept that it defies traditional galleries? It takes art to the streets! In fact, I might even argue that as one their main principles. So then, by organizing a gallery show, are they in effect selling out? Seems like it to me!

I think this idea of 'selling out' is prevalent in the design community as well, and something that has been addressed in previous design classes. At what point (if at all), as a designer, would you be willing to abandon your core principles/beliefs, to further your career? Would you work with a client whose business practices you don't agree with? Whose products are harmful to consumers? The issue becomes even more difficult to navigate when money is involved. I'd like to say, I'm steadfast in my core values/beliefs. But when pressed, like these street artists, I might be more willing to do work I don't necessarily believe in.

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