Where goes the underground culture?
Invisible paint is already used as a safety device for cyclists that gets them spotted in the headlights of drivers after night and as a device to repel urine off walls to prevent anti-social behavior but its use as a cultural tool might show its appeal is wider still.
Graffiti (a Roman word much like ‘vomit’, which can also be splashed back off those same urine scented walls) has been commonplace since Roman times; but it has in more recent years become a form of expression that still divides opinion. The public school educated Banksy, with his rather more refined form of street art, might have given it the veneer of respectability but at its core it remains a movement and a lifestyle born of the street.
But it’s under threat. The unrelenting march of gentrification in those areas of London where it was most commonplace has meant that what has always been an underground art form has had to move underground further still. The grime that has drawn and maybe inspired creative types to certain areas is in danger of being whitewashed out as Foxtons moves in.
Inspired by the One Minute Brief, posed by The Drum on Friday, the canvas for street artists to display their art forms is becoming more limited still but maybe invisible paint will be its salvation – or even make its culture even further entrenched. The anonymity that graffiti artists crave – most likely in order to avoid detection from the law – could be enhanced with it being driven even further underground that only cognoscenti could find it, recognize it and appreciate it.
The added thrill of displaying and discovering art, visible only to those who are part of this culture and are armed with a UV lamp to uncover it, under the noses of authority but without them knowing could ensure that it remains an essential part of street culture but without the associated criminality that goes along with it. As an outlet for frustrated artists denied the chance of an exhibition, their canvas is the city and the possibilities are endless.