We live in arguably the most exciting time for artists and designers in history— or at least since the Renaissance. Thanks to advances in mobile technology and software, designers are now able to make high quality, professional creations with nothing more than a smartphone or tablet. This has resulted in artists of all different types being able to construct, market, and sell their work in new and interesting ways. Everyone from a sketch artist to a portrait painter to a graffiti artist can now translate his or her talents to graphic design with relative ease.
As for what a street artist can actually do with these new capabilities, the options are just about limitless. For a lot of artists the best practice might be to start a blog or an active Instagram account, gaining exposure for work and selling a few pieces here and there, if said artist is so inclined. But there are a lot of more specific avenues that are opening up to street artists as a result of the changing dynamic for personal artists as well. Let’s look at a few of them more closely.
Book Cover Design
Once upon a time, an author of any kind would likely have had to go through some sort of agency to find a designer for a book cover. Now they’re free to do their own searches online, seeking out artists whose styles might work for the project. Sites like 99 Designs and Upwork allow artists to compete for jobs, and if you look at some of the best recent book designs you’ll see a range of styles that is indicative of the broadening market. There’s not a lot of stuff you’d really refer to as street art, but there isn’t a prevailing technique either. Some recent covers like those for The Mothers by Brit Bennett, Dancing With The Tiger by Lili Wright, and Knockout by John Jodzio feature designs that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for some street artists. The bottom line is that if you’re a street artist with some great art in your digital portfolio, you may well be able to snag a book cover deal with the right writer.
Video Game Design
There’s been a connection between gaming and graffiti for years. It’s not too uncommon to see characters and themes from popular video games worked into street murals, and this is typically the kind of material a lot of passersby can relate to. Nowadays the video game industry is so expansive, with so many developers working, there almost can’t be too many artists to work on the actual games! Don’t just think of big, expensive console offerings either. The mobile industry has seen a lot of independent designers and small-scale developers start to thrive, and one of the busiest and most art-dependent branches of the industry is the ever-improving online casino genre. Browse through some of the mobile slot gaming options across the internet and you’ll see all kinds of designs, from cartoonish depictions of popular characters to original environments. These designs are meant to provide a sense of atmosphere for g
ames that might otherwise seem too bland or familiar, and help the games to stand out from the pack while also being fun for the players. In order to do this they’re entirely dependent on talented artists and could provide a foot in the door for the aspiring artist.
This is something of a different category in that it pertains more specifically to street art, but is also a little bit less accessible. To be perfectly up front about it, you’re unlikely to secure a major advertising contract simply by putting your work online and hoping to be noticed. But one write-up of different ways street art is influencing design pointed out that this type of art is being used within more mainstream forms of advertising like posters, print ads, and TV commercials. The primary example shown was Coca-Cola, which partnered with a prominent Brazilian street artist while promoting the 2014 World Cup. It’s a competitive arena, but if you do have any level of prominence as a street artist, you might be able to work your way into some legitimate advertising opportunities.
These are just a few of the biggest areas worth mentioning, but taking the idea further, you can find all kinds of applications for street art-turned-digital. Designers might contribute to web design for personal sites and blogs, or help to design album covers the same way they do book covers. You might use the internet as a means of being hired to do personal projects, shipping out street art-inspired designs on canvases or in frames. The point is that there are a lot more options than there once were, and technology is making it easier for street artists to take advantage of those options.