What is Urban Art?

With its roots in etchings and carvings in the walls of ancient cities like Rome and Egypt, urban art has evolved into a broad and diverse category.  Urban means ‘from the city’, and its art features subjects living and experiencing the city, or the buildings and bustle of the metropolitan area itself.  In its rawest form, urban art is found on streets and walls in the form of graffiti, where, permitted or not, artists express themselves through spray paint.


Urban Art’s Development

The messages and intention of urban art and graffiti has evolved.  In ancient civilizations, it tended to be personal and direct, from one person to another, think messages to lovers, or schoolboy-style messages of disdain for a rival.  Of course these things still exist today, but now graffiti, and in extension urban art, is often used to convey messages to a larger audience, appealing to the masses with comments on political or cultural issues or ideals.

One of the artists featured in Trent Gallery is Yuvi, a graffiti inspired pop artist who works with mixed materials to produce art that expresses his world view.  His social criticism on icon deference can be seen in his work, and his methods are sparked from growing up in Florentin, Tel Aviv, surrounded by graffiti. His work, such as ‘Keep moving forward opening new doors’ can be seen in our galleries, just arrange a viewing!  

Not just one thing, but many

Urban art isn’t just social commentary though, it also captures the highlights and beauty of the landscape.  It is inspired by the city, its buildings and people, all milling about and living their lives. Acclaimed artist Craig Alan captures the evocative sense of a city in his work.  He uses hundreds or even thousands of figures to portray cultural touchstones like buildings. Alan has done works focusing on Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben.  He has also focused on iconic faces such as Heath Ledger’s
Joker, and Marilyn Monroe.  

But even in the category of cityscapes, the art is varied, evoking different feelings and memories.  Tom Butler says that the ‘bright lights of the city call to us all’ and that feeling is translated in his pieces, with mixed materials and shapes creating a very real and vibrant city, almost as though you could walk straight into it.

Urban art is a broad and sprawling category, much like the cities that inspire it.  Neighbourhoods right next to each other may be vastly different, and like the buildings themselves, the art is constantly evolving and changing. 

Want to hear more?

Keep an eye on our events page, as you could have a chance to meet one of the artists you love.  

Trent Gallery has highly knowledgeable staff who are passionate about finding you your perfect piece of art.  If you think an urban piece would fit the atmosphere of your space, but need some advice, then Trent Gallery can help.  You can arrange a home consultation or arrange a viewing at one of our galleries, just fill out our contact form.

Our Galleries

We have three galleries, all of which serve clients in surrounding areas.  For example, our Oakham branch sees customers from Stamford, Leicester, and Market Harborough.  However, if you are closer to Grantham or Lincoln, then Newark would be the closest to you. Beverly on the other hand is in the North East, with links to Hull and Driffield.  

All three galleries have expert staff who can help you decide on your dream piece so come and have a chat, we’d be delighted to talk to you about a shared passion.