British street artist Mobstr, in an interview with the blog Public Ad Campaign, posits an interesting perspective regarding what is street art, and what is graffiti: “We’ll happily put a six-metre-wide billboard up on the side of a shop or house convincing you the latest innovative toothbrush will enrich your life yet when someone paints a picture on some brick, we suddenly become offended. What is the difference between putting your image on the street via the means of a billboard, or taking it into your own hands and spraying it on a wall?” The messages he spray paints on blank walls throughout his home city of Newcastle are intelligent and thought-provoking—though entirely illegal. Newcastle, which is “crawling with police and cameras,” has adopted a zero-tolerance policy to street art/graffiti, but Mobstr does not let this deter him. If anything, it seems to fuel his creative streak. He makes a great point about a rundown area in the city, aside a burned-out building, that had become an informal dumpsite, so Mobstr painted on the side of the structure. He states that within just a couple of weeks, the city had effectively erased his painting, but the garbage remained. Seems people are okay with garbage, but not okay with street art.
[quote] It is all about context. A lot of my work is site specific and this strongly applies to the use of billboards. When it comes to painting on a billboard I like to use anti-advertising. I try to make them counterproductive, to work against their own purpose. I think “What is the last thing a billboard would say?” and then I put that on it.” [/quote]