Cans Festival, London 2008
As the second English May Bank Holiday Starts, I feel I need to review the amazing exhibition put on in London just 3 weeks ago (May 3rd to 5th 2008). An army of the worlds finest Stencil artists joined together in a tunnel to bring stencil art to the masses.
By the Monday (May 5th) morning, news of the 'underground' exhibition had spread through word of mouth and the internet and the que to get into this free event was almost 2 hours long! However no one seemed bothered to be queing for so long, after all, the sun was out.
I was pleasently surprised to find such a mix of people. Young and old mixed it with kids and their parents, teenagers enjoying an extra day off school and even some 70+ showed up. It was, "Middle Class England" out for a day looking at art. This was not De Vinci in Paris in the late 80's, this was Street art, in a dark tunnel in central London. Is Street Art finally being accepted? By the look and feel of the excitement and energy around the Cans Festival, I think its safe to say Graffiti, and especially the clean lines and often humouress Stencil Art is a must for the trendy and cool.
So what about the art? Banksy is one of the most recognzable Stencil Artists in the world, and at the Cans Festival he didn't disappoint. Taking the idea of Graffiti removal by our Government and each individual County Council to remove Graffiti 'No Matter What' Banksy shows a graffiti remover removing ancient cave like drawings (one of the earliest forms of art, and also by definition, Graffiti) from a wall. Pure genius! How amazing would that look as a piece of canvas art?
Banksy did not however steal the show with his artwork. that job was done by Alexandro 'Vhils' Farto. the Portugese artist took stencil art to a new level when he chisled a giant face into some plaster on a wall to remove the negative space. Its an inspiring piece of art and no photo I have seen has done it justice, it needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.
If your ever in the area of Leake Street London (3 mins walk from the London Eye, and I'm sure if you have trouble locating it, ask anyone nearby and they'll know it) in the next 6 months or so, please go check it out. This is our art, our generation. Its progress, and I for one am looking foward to the future.
[EDIT] 25th June 2008:
After the huge success of the Cans Festival, the organisers ave launched the Wrap Up Video. Find out more here.