Arts & Entertainment

Art in Public Spaces


Lesson time 10:15 min

Futura discusses the art of painting in public, encourages you to see your community as a canvas, and inspires you to make your mark.

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Topics include: Painting in the Public Domain · Your Audience Is Where You Live · Aim for High Visibility · Painting With an Audience Versus Performance Art


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So I can share an experience with you when I was a young kid, before I even started writing "Futura." So this would have been perhaps '69-- '68, '69. I think it might have been '69. But I had seen on a-- I want to call it a PSA filmed in the Statue of Liberty, in which there was a Taki 183 tag within the PSA. But I remember thinking, wow, that's incredible. Like the graffiti artist's work is-- is on television. The only public art I ever saw was painted trains. So for me, before I even joined that school or tried to enroll, that's the public art I knew. Later in the '80s, the evolution of handball courts, OK? That's the first genesis of like outdoor art that's not within the subway system or on a tenement or in some construction site. Things that were emerging in the '80s were beginning to open our eyes up beyond the subway. Because yeah, it was all happening on the subway, but the only street art-- public art-- was the work of these artists transitioning beyond the subway yards. That same public art can be defaced, can be removed, can be peed upon. You know, I mean, anything can happen to work in the public space. You're out there thinking, yeah, I want to make some public art. I want to do a mural. I want to do a painting. You know, where? Did you see a wall somewhere? OK, you did. You saw a wall out there, right? And you're like, OK, I'm going to paint that wall. Well, are you going to do it illegally at night over the cover of darkness? Are you going to wait till like early in the morning when, you know-- when you've got some light-- sunrise. I can get it done in a few hours. Or are you going to go speak to the owners, assuming what type of structure it is, and get permission? [MUSIC PLAYING] I'm painting now, you know, freely. I have the convenience of all of that. I have all the paint. I can stop for a drink. Nobody's coming to bust me. Nobody's going to beat me up. No one's coming to whatever. So of course it's totally different, But once again, once you walk away from the wall, you have to be ready to deal with whatever the consequences will be. Point being that some of those murals that are created legitimately, where artists are asked to come and paint-- there's one in New York on Hauser Street. Maybe it's four artists a year, three months per artist. You know, it's a nice rotation-- you just keep it moving over time. Well, every other artist, some local graffiti writers-- not artists, maybe even, because there's a distinction-- will just go over it. They'll just come and do throw ups over it. Because they're like, well, who is that? Some artist you imported from Colombia? You know what I'm saying? So there's absolutely no respect either happening out there, and it's all determinant on what's the mood, you know? What's the vibe? But the streets-- they don't lie, you know what I mean? They're always talking. So they're going to determine what happens, yo...

About the Instructor

A pioneering painter and street artist, Futura has exhibited at institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Supreme, and created album art for The Clash. Now he’s teaching you his signature, kinetic approach to abstract art. Learn how to express yourself and paint with color, dimension, and detail. All you need to create art is an idea and a can of spray paint.

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Pioneering abstract graffiti artist, Futura teaches you how to create art with a can of spray paint and an idea.

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