What we consider to be art is constantly changing. On an individual basis we may be more open to what that term encompasses. However, as a society, we can sometimes be unwilling to understand and accept a piece as an artistic work. Abstract art, for example, is at times discredited and not seen for what it truly is: Art.
Society can be strict about the definition of art. In reality, art is defined as, “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Urban sketching is a prime example of an art form that is underappreciated.
The concept is very simple; however, to master the technique takes practice. Urban sketching involves a sketchbook, a scene, and a creative eye. While many forms of art, such as realism and romanticism focus heavily on details and depicting a scene with complete accuracy, urban sketching focuses on something more than literal visuals.
One area which urban sketching focuses is capturing the feeling of the scene. It searches for a way to make the viewer feel the emotion and even the physicality of the sketched area.
Urban sketching also focuses on human interaction. The artist picks out interesting patterns of motion and exciting people. He or she shows the way the people interact with others, as well as the space and architecture around them.
And finally, urban sketching focuses on general form. Rather than convey specific details, the sketch attempts to gather all of the massing information in a scene quickly. This gives the viewer a general suggestion of the scene without taking away from the focus of sketching.
Since about 2007, urban sketching has become wildly popular. It was popularized on Flickr by Gabriel Campanario. He started by posting his urban sketches on the site and over time, his Flickr became popular enough that he decided, in 2009, to start the Urban Sketchers - a casual group that gets together to recreate interesting areas, people, and structures through sketch. Now there are hundreds of Urban Sketch groups all over the country.
Being an Urban Sketcher is a way of life. In the below video The Life of an Artist – Adebanji Alade talks about how hard he has worked to get to the urban sketching skill level he is at currently. He preaches, “Draw, draw, draw, and draw to be happy.”Hours of work go into developing an individual style of sketching.
The Life of an Artist - Urban Sketcher, Adebanji Alade from Urban Sketchers on Vimeo
This sketching style create one of a kind art pieces that may never grace the wall of any museum, but does this make the results any less "art"? That is for you to decide.
Sources: Urban Sketchers, The Art of Urban Sketching, Vimeo Urban Sketchers, Gabriel Campanario on Flickr, Oxford Dictionaries
Image credits: Rolf Schroter, Seattle Times, Urban Sketchers, Culture Vixen