Saturday, November 5, 2011

Madonna and Child in a Two Hour Parking Zone

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web."
Pablo Picasso

Street painting was first recorded in Italy in the 16th Century.  Created by  " madonnari," (so named because  icons of the Madonna  were a common  subject of their work)  itinerant artists,  many who had been brought to the cities to work on the cathedrals  and later needed to find another way to make a living when  the work for the church was done.  The madonnari's materials were tiles, coal and chalk.  Their canvas was the pavement  in front of the cathedral. The madonnari's goal was to inspire pilgrims to throw a few coins their way .  The art form spread throughout Europe--In England such artists are called screevers and in Germany strassenmaler.

Recently  Fredericksburg hosted its second annual Via Colori Festival  which brings together  artists, aspiring artists, a  dabbler in the arts or two,  and a few  souls searching for that artistic spark within themselves, to  put chalk to pavement  as did the madonnari of old......without the whole livelihood stress thing.

For me this event is not so much about the art but rather the process that creates it.  One can marvel at the technique, the beauty, and confidence of  years of experience and talent .  To  appreciate the struggle to create.  And to see  potential  and recognize the desire  in someone's first efforts.    My interest in this event is not to see what is created but rather how it is created. ....
Street Art of A New Century
A 16th century modannari would probably not understand the street art of today.  For the most part  religious themes no longer predominate. The role of art in his time, which was used to inspire, teach, and tell stories (and yes make a few coins on the side), has also changed.  What he would recognize is the desire to create.   

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