To me, most street art wants to accomplish three little things that add up to the idea of ‘shocking’ the viewer. The word shock isn’t entirely appropriate as it implies something drastic–’changing perspective’ is probably more appropriate but kind of boring, so whatever. ‘Shock’ it is. Anyway, according to me, the three things that all projects of this kind attempt to do are:
- presenting art where it’s least expected
- commenting on the use of public space
- being (or trying to be) extremely clever
Those generally add up to the possibility of ‘shocking’ the passerby out of his/her normal sensibility or (if we want to start posturing) complacency, even.
Based on these criteria, I don’t exactly understand why Aakash Nihalani’s street art succeeds, but it does. His photography is great, his shapes are clean, clear, and fun. Maybe that’s it–the sense of fun that comes through in what he’s doing, which is really remarkably simple. It’s direct, well-photographed, and has a reasonably clear explanation by the artist as to what he thinks it is, and what he’s trying to do:
I’m not trying to push a certain highbrow logic or philosophy or purposefully communicate through the esoteric medium of art. I work instinctively, trying to follow my gut about the sensation of color and space, and have fun doing it.
On the ‘a-ha!’ scale, it’s about the same as when you were a kid and you first figured out that you could draw a two-dimensional square on a piece of paper, and then by adding some diagonal lines, make it into a three-dimensional object. The simplest thing in the world, which is probably why I like this stuff, because it’s a reference to that discovery in what’s already a multi-dimensional environment.
My street work consists mostly of isometric rectangles and squares. I selectively place these graphics around New York to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself. All execution of a piece is done on site with little to no planning.
Head over to his site for more quality work on display. His photography really does add a ton to the enjoyment of his work, it’s great stuff.