Art or Advertisement?

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday on be kitschig blog, which, of course, won’t be all that wordless … Art or advertisement has been following me lately. So, please help me out here.

Art or advertisement? What happens when we mix the two? bekitschig.blog Berlin
art work by Emily Eldridge

My dilemma started with this picture. While Emily Eldridge is an established artist, I did not take a photo of this wall for street art postcards.

(For this one I went back. How’s that for great time management?)

I do like her style; I understand she has to make some money, but I am getting confused when advertisement is masked as art. The clothing company in question here has an office in Berlin and if you ever talked to someone who worked (you never find one who still does) for them, they are clearly not on the have some free fruit and after work beers kinda site of things. Rumors go, their work culture is plain horrible.

Chaning Wall on Bernauer Straßee - ad for expedia

bekitschig.blog Berlin

Much ado about nothing?

Well, maybe, until the Changing Wall changed once again. Our verdict here is an online travel site. While they are trying to reach a hip target market, it’s very likely exactly the people they are upsetting.

Art has been used for advertising, think Van Gogh. Some adds are incredibly artistic, like the beautiful Art deco posters, high fashion photography or perfume adds (although some of that boarders on kitsch).

Art wants to raise emotions. Ads want you to go buy something. It is simply not the same thing. Magazines have been showing sponsored articles for decades. Is that news or advertisement? Maybe I prefer my ads exactly marked as that.

However, aren’t these two walls pretty?

Isn’t it great that artists can make some decent money with urban projects?

Art or advertisement? What happens when we mix the two? bekitschig.blog Berlin

While I was contemplating this, just at the right time, I came across some beautiful murals over at Equinoxio; a collaboration of the city and some well-known brands. Go check them out! They are pretty fab.

Mural street art vanadlized Wandbild Berlin Oderberger Straße

I don’t seem to be the only one confused about mixing art and advertisement.

Art or advertisement? What happens when we mix the two? bekitschig.blog Berlin

Can you mix art and advertisement?

We ran into one of the artists painting after our first meal outside at a restaurant.

(With everything opening so quickly now, this is probably old news.)

It took the duo days and days to finish these three walls. I feel sorry for the work that went into this. Of course, people will alter a mural over time, but this didn’t even last a week. Maybe it is a question of taste, but I do prefer the execution of the first version.

Mural street art vanadlized Wandbild Berlin Oderberger Straße

On the other hand, of course these guys have a right to pee on protect their hood. They could’ve just covered the name of the brand.

It is also a wee bit confusing, that they put advertisement on a playground where many tired parents can stare at it half of the day.

Then again, the wall there was pretty sad looking, and a bit of color usually doesn’t hurt anyone. Did they just use their money to brighten up the world?

I cannot make up my mind. What do you think?

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17 thoughts on “Art or Advertisement?

  1. Difficult one that. There are many pro’s and con’s. There are times when it’s ok and times when it ain’t. Hope that clarifies it all for you!😎

  2. It’s tricky. Some ads are very artistic. I think many Art Nouveau ads were so artistic they overshadowed the item being advertised. And ads do raise emotion; i.e. I will be so happy when I buy that (insert name of thing here)! 😀

    1. That is an interesting thought. The artwork did overshadow it big time! I wonder how we look at street art ads in 20 years from now

  3. agree, it’s difficult – tricky . A subject for a long dissertation, I think! Just a few thoughts: It depends at what stage in their career the artist is – they might inadvertently devalue their work (would I look twice at someone’s work who has collaborated with a brand I detest? Probably not.) On the other hand, if an artist I like does something for a brand I have no particular feeling about , it might get me interested in them. Btw, I did like Pierre et Giles for Gucci – but I’m still not going to buy Gucci

    1. Devaluing your work is a really interesting point.
      With Pierre et Gille I got carried away … I adore their art and Gucci and all surely cross lines between art and kitsch.

  4. I always see the art. On my other site The Vintage Toy Advertiser I’m kind of blown away by the quality of art for often cheap and throwaway products. Take 1960s/70s toy cars, model kits and Barbie for example – some of the paintings and illustrations made for the packaging and catalogues by the artists (often uncredited) are just incredible. But at the end of the day, yes, they are just adverts. From the 80s it seemed popular (and I’m guessing cheaper) to use photography rather than pay an artist. As for those late 19th/early 20th century lithographs done in art nouveau and deco styles advertising drinks, cigarettes, bicycles, etc … just beautiful art.

    1. That is true. There are so many great ads on your old blog. I really need to think about this a bit longer. I think it’s just not cool if ads are masked. Although product placement in movies or TV shows can be pretty funny sometimes. (Did Coke sponsor this movie?)
      Maybe there is no clear answer to that?!?

  5. Thanks for the mention. I am perhaps more open to the mixture of genres. Art or Ad? I don’t mind. (I worked in an Ad agency for a while, and mesured Advertising effectivity for many years…) (I know. I’m a capitalist!) (Will our friendship resist this dreadful confession?)

    1. When I learned you were in market research I kinda figured … Being an adult involves the handy skill of just overlooking certain things. I think we’re cool.

      1. Yes. Now if you look at it another way, advertising helps sell. Selling keeps jobs. And all my clients were ethical companies. I wouldn’t have done Ad or market research for them otherwise.
        I’m glad we’re cool. 😎

  6. Personally I find ads disguised as art really annoying. And yet, I love vintage ads for their artistry so I am sort of confused about how I feel about art versus ads, are the two one and the same? Anything can be art according to some people who love modern art. Hmm very interesting 🤔 question and thank you for writing this thought-provoking post! 🤗

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