My graduate thesis Global Art And Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating street art as it relates to rhetoric and semiotics. See below for portions from Abstract. View the site here.
ABSTRACT FOR GLOBAL ART AND MEDIA: THE SEMIOTICS OF STREET ART
- Situation Analysis
Global Art And Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating street art as it relates to rhetoric and semiotics. Street art as a modern art form gathered relevancy and cultural prominence in the last decade, using outdoor spaces as a neo-art gallery and encouraging discourse on what street art represents (Banksy). The art arguably has roots in the graffiti movement of previous decades, most specifically in relation to counter-culture and urban movements of time and place, gaining relevancy and momentum with the emergence of the hip-hop movement in American and urban art forms in Europe. Through these parallel historical movements, street art has gathered influence in the art world as well, garnering interest among art collectors and curators of art galleries who are seeking a neo-form of popular art (Banksy). While Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art will examine the artistic elements involved in street art as a form of expression and cultural communication, the paper is more concerned with the narrative elements that the art provides.
Using prominent texts in the semiotic tradition, such as Roland Barthes’ Elements of Semiology, I.A. Richards’ The Meaning of Meaning, as well as, Aristotle’s the Rhetoric, one will be able to gain a complete multi-disciplined perspective of the elements of semiotics found in street art and the ways in which those elements provide a cultural narrative. The texts provide a thorough explanation of the semiotic tradition as it stands for various linguists and semioticians. By analyzing street art through the use of Aristotle’s rhetorical proof one will be able to understand how street art exemplifies cultural and ideological signs and symbols on a public platform.
Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art also incorporates original images of street art from the following cities, London, Paris, Ibiza, St. Louis, Chicago, New York City, Kansas City, Alexandria, Lisbon, and Berlin. Incorporating original images allows the reader to visually understand the academic perspective of semiotics and rhetoric to the application of street art.
- Premise Statements
This paper will provide a literature review of Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art. This paper will develop the correlation between art, semiotics, and rhetoric. While the paper will provide an overview of the three disciplines involved, it will focus primarily on Roland Barthes’ tradition of semiotics, George Herbert Meads’ tradition of symbolic interactionism, and the Rhetoric of Aristotle. This paper will determine the potential of street art as a cultural narrative. Finally, this paper will discuss the ways that social media globalizes city-specific street art.
- Limitations And Disclaimers
A major limitation of Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is that the paper crosses academic disciplines of art, communication theory, and rhetoric. Due to the nature of the cross-disciplinary approach to street art, it is much more difficult to retain objectivity in the field while also providing a substantial analysis of each individual element of the various disciplines. As such, the study of street art and rhetoric in this case is more closely tied to the understanding of communication and practice of the elements of communication theory through a visual medium. A complete study of art history and critique is less important in the case of Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art than the ways in which art serves as a form of visual narrative. One should be wary of observing Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art as a text on art history, as the explanation of art history in part one is primarily an introduction into street art as a modern form of art, and less of an analysis of the eras and styles of art. The paper Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is primarily a representation of the actuality of semiotics through art, and not a piece on art history.
Another limitation of Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art deals with the analysis of street art using the Rhetoric of Aristotle. The Rhetoric of Aristotle has been referenced in books on communication theory, as the text relates to public speech and elements of persuasion through discourse. As Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art analyzes the narrative form of street art, it is important to understand that the text uses the Rhetoric of Aristotle to support the claim of street art as being a form of communication to a mass audience. Of importance to Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is the concept of semiotics and the ways in which signs and symbols in a culture perpetuate the communication of ideals that a culture is founded upon and supports. Along the line of semiotic tradition is the concept that signs represent ideological elements of a culture and as such, semiotics will be likened to metaphor of the rhetorical tradition. One should be aware of the fact that the Rhetoric is primarily used to examine verbal and literary means of communication, yet in the case of Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art, the Rhetoric of Aristotle takes on a visual analysis, which extends the traditional analysis of the Rhetoric as a communication technique.
Finally, a disclaimer must be included in regards to the street art content that is featured in Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art. As the images of street art are original source content, it is important to understand that a full scope of street art and its various forms is not included. Street art as a genre of visual narrative exists in numerous cities around the world, and the ability to include all examples of prominent street art is unfathomable. It must be stated that the street art content included in Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art is from cities, London, Paris, Oslo, Barcelona, Ibiza, Lisbon, Berlin, St. Louis, Alexandria, and New York and is by no means an exhaustive inclusion of street art (Potter). However, it must also be noted that a prominent source on the topic of street art, Exit Through the Gift Shop, includes interviews with well-known street artists who have produced artwork in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York; therefore, the original content that is included in Global Art and Media: The Semiotics of Street Art includes primary content from street artists that are highly regarded in the industry (Banksy).
- Literature Review (contact author for this section)
Read the full thesis here.