I came across this while looking for videos for other street art trend articles.
As soon as I saw there were several of these I became quite interested and made up my own theories as to why this trend would come to manifest.
I was thinking mostly about what are the ingredients to make a commercial street art type work: you need something you can do quickly, that is decorative and if you can wow the audience in the process, even better.
But then I became more curious because I saw people from all over the world use the same type of instruments and containers (I would imagine the same kind of paint, too, but I'm not sure at this point), so I did a little bit more research, and it seems this is an adaptation of an ancient art from Asia.
An article I found in Quora says: "Name painting is one of the world's first painting arts that utilize plants and animals to create English letters with its own unique style and artistic patterns with various meanings. Each letter is hand-painted using plants and animals that have been uniquely designed into forms of specific letters.(...)"
This technique is called many different names, like "name painting art," "pictorial calligraphy,” "Korean leather brush art," "letter brush art," and "rainbow calligraphy," among others. It seems as though the double (or triple) color load is one of its key features and maintained throughout all the artists, as well as the use of those special brushes that one of the names hint they must have been made from leather at one point in time, but from what I've seen, now they look more like they're made out of thick felt. I've even seen one artist recommending the use of craft foam (or fun foam) for making your own. That info is not so easy to get. It seems to be a bit of a trade secret or something like that.
The paint itself is also a bit of a mystery. The more traditional Asian artists I've seen seem to be using some kind of pasty paint. Other use a mixture of tempera with acrylic ink with a sponge soaked in the container so they load the special brushes from the sponge and not the paint directly. I would love to be near some of these artists to see all of this in person, but I've never stumbled upon one in my country.
Some maintain the tradition alive by sticking strictly to they've been taught by those before them -including the meanings of each animal-, others, especially those who are not Asian, took the basics and made their own style. Some even added symbols of their own cultures to the mix. Street art is one of the amazing ways in which art gets spread and built on.
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Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:
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