Graffiti is cool and it knows it. From the early days of TAKI 183 writing his name on the subway wall to the latest innovative techniques ranging from the eerie look of drip ink to the fleeting glow of digital ink, this art form for the masses has always been surrounded by that hip aura, in part, because it tends to be made in secret. It was like this during the Wild Style days of painting train cars in the 1970s, when graffiti writers hid in the darkness of the subway tunnels, and it's like this today, when poster-clad wheat pasters and spray paint-powered stencil artists move fast at night to evade the fuzz.
This is why it's so fascinating to watching street artists at work. Okay, there are several reasons why it's fascinating to watch street artists at work, but there's nothing quite like seeing something that's supposed to be a secret. A man with a can of spray paint in his hand covering a random wall with technicolored hues is one of those things.
This week, the Australian master SOFLES posted the four minutes of bliss you see above—bliss being a faceless man transforming abandoned buildings into pieces of public art. The video is called "Infinite" and about two minutes in you start to see why. The time lapse approach makes obvious sense, because painting just one piece takes so long and internet users' attention spans are so short. Other artists have obviously caught on to this fact, and "time lapse graffiti" is practically its own genre on YouTube. It's not just passive shots of people painting street art, though. Some of the videos are works of art in their own right.
MUTO by BLU
This 2008 classic filmed in Buenos Aires and Baden will make your eyes melt.
One Day with (Graffiti Timelapse) by BABS and Friends
Using three fixed cameras and fourth handheld, this Parisian collective captured an entire day of painting earlier this year and set it to moody music.
Watchmen by the End of the Line crew
Unless you're Shepard Fairey, street art is not a very lucrative career. Luckily, there are plenty of major Hollywood studios that want to promote their movies using guerrilla marketing techniques.
"COMBO" by BLU and David Ellis
Since the viral success of "MUTO," the idea of making animations out of street art has caught on. BLU still does it best.
This one's not time lapse, but it is fascinating.